HONOLULU (KHON2) — State and county officials are warning people to take extra precautions over the Fourth of July weekend. They say they encourage people to have fun, but they also need to keep in mind the COVID-19 safety measures put in place by the state.
Each county has seen at least one new COVID-19 case in the past few weeks. One of the more recent clusters was tied to a funeral gathering.
“It’s these gatherings where people are together for a couple hours, in picnic settings or church settings or whatever, where they’re embracing one another. That’s when we see a little bit of a spread,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.
With many people expected to travel inter-island and gather to celebrate the fourth of July weekend, county mayors are asking people to play it safe.
“I would strongly suggest that if people can refrain from getting into situations where they’re mingling with members outside of their immediate household, that they take the necessary precautions,” said Derek Kawakami, Kauai mayor.
Aside from social distancing, Green said wearing masks, especially when people are around someone they don’t live with, are key to avoiding huge spikes.
“I hope that we learned from Memorial Day, and we don’t see the same number of spikes,” said Green. “If people drift from wearing masks and they don’t do that, I can tell you that we’re going to see another little surge.”
Many counties are planning to work with state and county agencies this weekend to ensure that the COVID-19 rules are being followed.
Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim said he’s already briefed DOCARE, the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ reinforcement branch, which will be patrolling the island’s parks, beaches and harbors.
“[We’re] asking [DOCARE] to do everything they can to remind people how careful we must be,” said Kim.
The county is even putting up signs to encourage prevention.
“Just to send people out there friendly reminders, and I think the people in Hawaii are really good at that. This is just to remind them, don’t forget our mission, which is to keep the island safe,” said Kim.
Green said the state will be watching carefully in the next few weeks to see if there are any spikes that come from the Fourth of July weekend. They will also be following national COVID-19 numbers as the state prepares its pre-testing program.