Hawaii residents, except for essential workers are ordered to stay at home. That’s the latest mandate by Governor David Ige.
It takes effect 12:01 Wednesday morning and runs through April 30.
This as the total number of cases statewide jumped today by 21 to 77. There are 12 new cases on Oahu, two new cases on the Big Island, and two new cases on Maui, and one additional case requiring hospitalization.
The statewide order is in line with what Honolulu and Maui counties announced over the weekend. And those who violate the order face a stiff fine. But both the governor and the mayors are hoping it doesn’t come to that.
Governor Ige announced the statewide order to stay home, saying it is necessary to lay the groundwork for recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
“I cannot stress enough that we need everyone to please stay at home or in their place of residence. These efforts are all aimed at social distancing, the single most effective way of controlling this deadly virus,” he said.
Residents can still leave their homes to get groceries and get medical supplies. And essential workers are exempt. Those who violate the order can be fined up to $5,000. But the governor points out that everyone needs to cooperate and enforcement will be a last resort.
“We know that enforcement is important but it really is educating our community and making sure they understand the need for the stay at home order, what it means and how their business is impacted, and then we will look at enforcement,” said Ige.
He says the state will work with the mayors and the county police departments if enforcement is needed.
With the economy in a freefall and more residents losing their jobs, Ige says the state is also working with the private sector to help families who will not be able to pay their rent. Property managers say that assistance is sorely needed.
“I think what would be great is assistance for renters to be able to make their rental payments which will in turn allow the homeowner to make their mortgage payment,” said property manager Amanda Han.
The governor also announced that state income tax returns, normally due on April 20 will be pushed back to July 20.