Hawaii gov. reinstates partial inter-island travel quarantine, Honolulu mayor tightens up restrictions as cases surge

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii governor and city officials announced a number of restrictions on Thursday, August 6, in light of the recent uptick in the state’s COVID-19 cases.

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A major announcement made by Hawaii Governor David Ige was about travel.

Effective Tuesday, August 11, the mandatory 14-day quarantine order for inter-island travel will be reinstated. But it won’t be for all travelers.

According to the governor following the press conference, Gov. Ige has decided to approve the inter-island travel quarantine only for travelers arriving on the counties of Kauai, Hawaii, Maui and Kalawao.

This order will continue through August 31 unless it is terminated or extended by a separate proclamation.

The order was first introduced earlier this year and was later lifted for inter-island travelers as the numbers began to lower. But as numbers began to spike to triple-digits, some islands began to distance themselves from the island that’s become the epicenter of the state. County mayors were calling for the quarantine order to be reinstated.

“It is disheartening to have to take a few steps back in order to move forward, but it is necessary given the recent outbreaks on Oahu,” said Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami. “Kauai may be an island of its own, but we are all connected. The quarantine allows us a layer of protection to help us keep our island and our people safe.”

Most of the reported cases in the state come from Oahu. State health director Dr. Bruce Anderson announced on Thursday that there are ‘at least’ 200 new cases.

“I say about 200 because we had a problem with our electronic record system again. We’re still getting reports from [Aug. 5]. But we fully expect to see at least 200 cases [Aug.6],” said Dr. Anderson.

But after the press conference, the DOH released around 5 p.m. that the total number of cases reported for Thursday, August 6, are 152. This brings the state total to 2,914. 148 of the cases are on Oahu, one is on Hawaii and three on Maui.

He adds that there are currently 117 hospitalizations. 115 of them are on Oahu. Based on two models, the health director projects that all ICU beds in the state will be full by the end of August.

Due to the COVID-case surge, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is scaling back on a lot of the loosened restrictions that the city was previously allowed.

All of these restrictions come in a new order called “Act with Care – Do Not Gather Order.”

Effective Saturday, August 8, all city and state parks, beach parks, beaches, campgrounds and botanical gardens on Oahu will be closed.

The only exception to the beach closure rule is for traversing to the ocean for exercise and other activities permitted by law.

The closure includes all Oahu state parks, waysides, lookouts, scenic shorelines, recreation areas, and monuments. Camping is suspended and includes, Ahupuaa o Kahana State Park, Keaiwa State Recreation Area, Malaekahana State Recreation Area (both the for the Kalanai and Kahuku sections) and Sand Island State Recreation Area. For state parks, the DLNR says that it will be closed at least until September 4.

Although the State Na Ala Hele trails are open, according to the Oahu Department of Emergency Management, the city says that access to these trails are not allowed through a closed city park or park property, regardless of whether the trail is open.

Private and public pools and tennis courts, basketball courts and playgrounds will close. Golf courses, both private and public, will remain open but will scale back to phase one.

Due to the closure of all Oahu parks, team sports that take place at parks are suspended through Sept. 5.

Indoor activities will also be affected. Included in the long list of closures, bowling alleys, arcades, and mini-golf facilities will be closed. Indoor attractions such as theaters and museums remain open. 

For fitness centers, gymgoers will still be able to work out at these facilities. However, group classes will not be allowed. As for restaurants, kitchen staff will be required to wear a mask.

Bars will remain closed on Oahu as planned, and more restrictions are anticipated for those that are posing as restaurants, according to Mayor Caldwell.

As the number continues to hike, a question was brought up about how it will affect schools in the state.

Though the governor did not say much, he said he is in conversation with the Hawaii DOE superintendent. He added that an announcement about schools, which will include universities, will be made at a later date.

For now, the Board of Education’s plan for students to return to school on Aug. 17 remains.

To further enforce violations, the Honolulu Police Department has set up a COVID-enforcement team and hotline. The team will be staffed with 160 police officers and will start service on Sunday, August 9, at 10 a.m.

To make a report of a proclamation violation in regards to COVID-19, call 723-3900 or email hpdcovidenforce@honolulu.gov.

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