HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige announced that the stay at home order and the 14-day quarantine for all incoming passengers will be extended through May 31.
He thanked Hawaii residents for their commitment and diligence in helping to flatten the curve but warned that moving too quickly could have an adverse effect.
“We are flattening the curve,” Governor Ige said. “However, my greatest fear is that if we move to reopen too quickly, we will see a sudden surge in new cases that would result in over-running our healthcare system and more deaths.”
The announcement comes after two weeks of consistently low numbers of positive cases. Gov. Ige says extending the rules would prevent a sudden surge in cases.
The State also vows to strictly enforce the 14-day travel quarantine with enhanced screening measures, that went into effect Thursday.
Gov. Ige said that since the quarantine order began, the number of incoming passengers has declined by more than 98 percent. Officials, however, are still seeing over a hundred passengers coming into the state.
The governor says that the FAA has made it clear that all air traffic cannot be shut down, hence why screening efforts were strengthened to keep visitors from violating the quarantine.
“The person will initial and sign a mandatory order confirming that they are aware quarantine for the 14 days by signing the document,” said Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Sakahara. “They acknowledge they understand violating the order is a criminal offense and is subject to a $5,000 fine and or a year imprisonment.”
When visitors arrive, Ige said they will be temperature screened. They will also have to provide the phone number of where they will be staying. Screening staff will have to verify contact and hotel information on the spot and call the number to see if visitors have a reservation. If they do not have a place to stay, they will not be allowed to leave the airport.
Anyone who refuses to cooperate will be handed over to law enforcement.
Gov. Ige has also pledged that the State and Counties will work together so that everyone is on the same page before any new rules are implemented.
“Certainly it does not apply retroactively,” said Gov. Ige “So all of the existing orders, and proclamations and rules that the counties have put in place still continue to exist.”
Mayor Kirk Caldwell sent a letter expressing concern regarding the need to get the governor’s approval.
“We agree with many of the actions taken today including the opening of beaches for exercise, and the extension of the 14-day travel quarantine,” said Honolulu County Mayor Kirk Caldwell.
But he says there are some concerns.
“We have concerns that the action taken today will affect the City and County of Honolulu’s ability to act quickly and deliberately during this crisis.”
Mayor Caldwell says that he agrees that there’s a need for, “greater consistency and coordination of decision-making between the State and all four counties.”
“We will work diligently to provide the Governor and HI-EMA with sufficient advance review of any orders or proclamations that we plan to issue that directly impact our residents. I look forward to the Governor’s expedited review and approval without delay so that we can continue to stay ahead of this pandemic. The re-opening of Honolulu’s economy must be done in a deliberate way, with continued coordination between the counties and our state government,” he said.
Gov. Ige said that in addition to the extension of the quarantine and stay at home orders, he will be relaxing some aspects of the lockdown.
In the press conference, he said that outdoor exercise will now be allowed. This includes swimming, surfing, and walking pets. Running, jogging, or walking on the beach will be permitted as long as social distancing requirements are observed.
Ige says his proclamation is also allowing elective medical procedures to be performed.
In addition, the eviction moratorium has been extended until the end of May.
The State is working on a statewide reopening plan that Ige says will be based on facts, science, and guidance from healthcare advisors. He says that some of the factors that will go into making this plan will be the decrease in cases, comprehensive testing and surveillance capacity, and a well-developed contact tracing system. There will be a phased approach to reopening the state.
He says that before the end of May, they hope to relax even more measures.
As for new COVID-19 positive cases announced on Saturday, April 25, the Department of Health reported three new cases, raising the state total to 604.
Two of the cases are Oahu residents and one is a resident diagnosed outside of the state.
Here’s a video of the full press conference:
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