Officials warn of a longer lockdown if no significant drop in COVID cases

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Governor David Ige has approved the emergency order for a two-week lockdown on Oahu starting on Aug 27. Officials say they’re looking to see a significant improvement. Otherwise, they say the restrictions will be extended.

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Mayor Kirk Caldwell points out that he would like to see a significant drop in the daily COVID cases within two weeks. Ideally, he’d like to see it drop down in the 25-50 range. Then he would consider lifting the restrictions slowly by reopening places that are low-risk.

“We’re looking at exercise in parks again, maybe solo exercise initially. Some retail for example, maybe restaurants to outdoor dining,” said Caldwell.

But starting Thursday, Aug. 27, non-essential businesses will once again shut down, such as most retailers, hair salons, gyms, museums, movie theaters, car dealerships and bowling alleys.

Establishments such as grocery stores, banks, gas stations, hardware stores, dry cleaners and restaurants will stay open for take-out and delivery. Unlike the first lockdown, churches can hold services as long as there’s no singing or wind instruments.

The lieutenant governor says there’s a 50-50 chance that the lockdown will be extended. Although we should see improvements before the two weeks.

“About 8-10 days to see significant decline. We might see a smaller decline in the first few days,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

Caldwell adds that the State Department of Health wanted the lockdown longer when he submitted the emergency order for approval by the governor.

“The biggest point of disagreement is after agreeing to a two-week stay-at-home, work-at-home order, the Department of Health has recommended 28 days,” said Caldwell.

For now, it will remain at two weeks. The U.S. Surgeon General says federal teams will be coming to Hawaii to observe during that time. They will then make more recommendations on lowering the spread of the virus.

“I want us to think of this next two weeks as not a time of pain but a time to hit the reset button, so that we can more cautiously reopen when the time is appropriate,” said Vice Admiral Jerome Adams.

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