Hawaii Mayor Harry Kim and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said they’re taking extra steps to keep public areas clean amid COVID-19 concerns.

In about five weeks Hilo’s biggest event of the year, Merrie Monarch, will be underway.

Today, Mayor Kim met with Merrie Monarch officials to discuss what can be done to help prevent the spread of germs.

Mayor Kim said there will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the stadium and they’ve also discussed sanitizing the stage after each performance.

“From buses to bathrooms, we’ve even made posters that will go up with hand sanitizer stations,” explained Mayor Kim.

They have even suggested a new way to greet one another.

“Instead of the traditional Hawaiian way, maybe we can find a better way to be safe and I do mean it. That’s the kind of discussion we’ve been having, trying to do everything we can island-wide to mitigate a possible spread of that here,” he said.

Kauai’s Mayor Derek Kawakami has also recommended the same idea.  

“A simple wave or blow a kiss without touching your face, fist bump, elbow bump, I know it sounds silly to the general public but I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to not spread bacteria and viruses during these kinds of seasonal outbreaks,” he said.

Mayor Kawakami said prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, he hired extra cleaning staff for Kauai buses and said his county has been through its fair share of tragedy in the past.

Kauai has been known for its natural disasters from Hurricane Iwa, Iniki, we had the Ka Loko dam breach, the floods in April, Hurricane Lane. Our island has been through adversity and challenges so we already have an incident action plan, a pandemic flu, so what the team is doing is taking the base and essence of this and working with the departments and agencies to fine-tune that incident action plan to make it more in a line across with COVID-19.