Mayors call for further restrictions on neighbor island travel

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — County mayors in Hawaii are taking action to slow down the spread of the virus within their communities, at least two mayors have requested for the governor to reimpose the two-week quarantine for all arrivals.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said his priority is to keep the number of COVID-19 cases as low as possible, but maintain businesses open. Kauai County has the fewest number of cases in the state with 47 cases that are now classified as “recovered”, he said tougher action is needed to keep numbers low.

Kawakami said, “The first step is instead of imposing restrictions on businesses on Kauai, is to once again take a look at reinstating the interisland quarantine. ” 

Kawakami said he sent the request to Governor David Ige on Tuesday, and expects discussions to continue over the next couple of days.

Honolulu County is already stepping back reopenings, bars are closed for the next three weeks, group gatherings are limited to 10 people and face masks are mandated for most public activities.

County leaders are not the only ones considering restrictions, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said he is recommending to go back to “Safer at Home” orders where places of worship, personal services like salons and gyms would close again.

“A two-week pause, I think people will understand, then reassess in 10 days,” Green said. “That’s what I recommended because that way we’re not just slamming the door, we give people hope but we also need to get these numbers down.”

Kawakami said he would rather stay at the current reopening phase, “Act with Care” but implement the quarantine orders for visitors.

Kawakami said, “If we are not going to be able to get the interisland quarantine, I would say that we would have to scale back, but scaling back also means having a lot more restrictions and we’re trying to avoid that.”

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino, said he submitted a request to the governor a couple of weeks ago to also reinstate the two-week quarantine for arrivals on Maui, cases on Oahu have spiked since then.

“At that time, I don’t think the governor or the other mayors felt the numbers warranted the reinstatement of the 14-day quarantine for interisland travel,” Victorino said. “However, that has all changed and changed quite rapidly, so I believe we will be hearing back from the governor in the next day or so.”  

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