Kauai’s proposed four-tiered system to determine restriction levels

Coronavirus

LIHUE, Hawaii (KHON2) — Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami continues to move forward with additional safety measures for incoming visitors.

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His latest proposal could follow a four-tiered system to determine if visitor exemptions, business and activities can carry on with limited restrictions, which is similar to the system approved for Oahu.

Rather than moving up the tier, Kauai’s proposed system goes from strictest to least restrictive.

In “Tier One,” the pre-travel program would not be allowed if the seven-day COVID-19 case average exceeds eight.

The second tier triggers the county to opt-out of the testing program and it forces the 14-day mandatory quarantine. This tier assumes that the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases are between five and eight cases.

The third tier would have a weekly average of two to four cases. This level of cases could allow travelers to skip quarantine if their pre-test is negative.

Kauai would be in “Tier Four” under the proposal with a seven-day average of fewer than two cases.

The new proposal comes after the mayor pushed for a post-arrival test for travelers.

Kawakami said, “Here on Kauai, we proposed a system requiring travelers to take a second negative test 72 hours after arrival. The state rejected our plan.”    

Some residents of Kauai are still in favor of a second test. The executive director of non-profit Seaside Kauai Jeff Adams said this could add another layer of protection for the island.

The non-profit also operates Ha Coffee Bar. Adams said that they are at risk of being evicted from their location after months of struggling to keep up with rent. He said the virus impacted the business but luckily not his health.

Adams said, “We have to look at it and go, ‘If we can’t figure out who has the disease, we’re going to put the people we’ve worked so hard for so long to protect at risk.”

From the start of the pandemic, he said workers at the coffee shop remained employed with health insurance. Federal and county small business programs were not enough to cover overhead costs.

He said that they are trying to reach an agreement with the owners of the commercial building, but any chance of going to “Tier One” could set them and others further back.

“If we have an outbreak and suddenly we double up on cases on Kauai, we are going to shut down the whole island,” Adams said. “Then we will be back to serving from our front window again, then we go back to zero then that’s when things get really hairy.” 

KHON2 reached out to Mayor Kawakami’s office and a spokesperson said further details will be made public upon approval.

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