HONOLULU(KHON2)–After four consecutive days of fewer positive cases, officials are discussing how they will begin our recovery, and gradually start loosening some of the stay-at-home mandates.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said it will be a long time until things are back to normal, but with effort, he is hopeful that we can slowly allow some businesses to open and shift into a new normal.
“No matter what, there’s going to have to be social distancing. No matter what, people will have to have masks on. But these businesses, when they can open, we want to be 10 days out when we make that decision,” Green said.
Director of HI-EMA Maj. General Kenneth Hara said some restrictions could be lifted as early as May if positive cases continue to decrease.
Hara released a color-coded COVID-19 alert system, similar to the volcano alert system that was used during the 2018 Kilauea eruption.
It was explained that the four tiered system would easily alert the public to the current threat level presented by coronavirus in the state. Level four (red) is considered a major disruption, while level one (green) signaled no disruption.
Hara estimated that we are currently at the lower end of level three (orange) and that he thinks we could bring our alert level down enough to begin recovery if everyone follows the rules.
“I’m hoping the next 15 days if everyone listens, we can start relaxing some of the things — not everything — throttle back a little bit…and slowly get the economy going. We test and watch and monitor, and if it doesn’t spike erratically, maybe we throttle back a little bit more, and start slowly moving back into the next color,” Hara said.
In order to do that, people have to buckle down now.
“I’m begging everyone out there — the community follow the social distancing…I go out running and I still see people out there and congregating in the small parks right next to each other. I was at a teleconference and I see people hugging each other. We gotta stop that for now. We gotta keep that distance so we don’t spread,” Hara said.
Hara said focusing on responsiveness and protecting those most vulnerable in the population are vital steps in recovery.
Another concern is travel and how that will be handled once restrictions are loosened.
Green said that travel will be handled differently.
“The preference will be to have (travelers) test before they come in and show a document that they are either immune or negative for the last 48 hours. That in my mind is the best approach as of now,” Green explained.
But Green said they aren’t capable of doing that yet.
Many things are coming down the pipeline on the road to recovery. But returning to how things were before coronavirus isn’t likely to happen this year according to Green.
“We have to be very careful for the rest of 2020 and part of 2021 until we can vaccinate everybody and then we can go about our business.”