HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Starting Friday night, both Oahu and Maui County will step up enforcement of the state’s stay-at-home order with a nighttime curfew through the Easter weekend.
The curfews will extend from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily.
And they mean that no one will be allowed to use any mode of transportation ― from vehicles to motorcycles to bikes ― on any roads unless they fall into a limited number of exceptions.
The curfews will be completely lifted Monday morning.
“It is a pilot. We’ll see how it works,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, in a news conference Thursday. “Perhaps it won’t have to happen again. Perhaps it will if we don’t see the results we’re hoping for.”
Added Maui Mayor Mike Victorino:
“These are difficult times for all of us and we’re doing everything in our power to stop the spread of COVID-19. We will evaluate the effectiveness of this curfew after this weekend and will continue to make policy changes as needed.”
Here’s how Oahu’s order works:
- It starts at 11 p.m. Friday and be lifted at 5 a.m. each day.
- The curfew extends to “anything with wheels” on the roads ― not only cars but moped, bicycles and even scooters. People will be able to walk in their communities, however.
- Exceptions to the curfew include emergencies and first responders, driving to and from work, those making deliveries, security personnel, and people picking up medication.
The new order comes amid encouraging signs that the spread of coronavirus is slowing in Hawaii, but as government and health officials continue to urge people to follow a sweeping stay-at-home order.
On Thursday, the state reported just seven new cases of COVID-19.
It’s the lowest one-day count since March 25.
The new cases bring the statewide total for cases to 442. The state Health Department said that of those, 42 are hospitalized while 251 have been released from isolation and are no longer sick.
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There were also no new fatalities reported Thursday. The death toll in Hawaii stands at six.
While the nighttime curfew is new for Oahu, Kauai has been under one for weeks.
And a number of counties on the mainland have also turned to nighttime curfews in a push to keep people from going to parties or other gatherings.
In the city’s news conference, Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said the majority of residents on Oahu are following the stay-at-home order and only venturing in public for essential activities.
“But there are few that are not following the rules,” she said.
In announcing the curfew, Ballard said police would also continue to step up enforcement of the stay-at-home order, including at beach parks.
Caldwell’s said the city is beginning to see the positive impacts of “aggressive social distancing measures,” but said Hawaii isn’t out of the woods yet.
“It’s making a difference,” he said.
On Wednesday, Gov. David Ige shared a similar sentiment, saying that while people must continue to do their part to mitigate the spread of coronavirus there is reason to be optimistic.
“We have the situation under control,” Ige said. “I think we can all be proud of the work we’ve done.”
Projections from the University of Washington appear to underscore that message.
Researchers at the University of Washington are predicting that Hawaii will peak at 10 deaths a day by Sunday, with an estimated 112 deaths by the summer.
Those projections are down from 155 deaths earlier this week.
Here’s a look at the county-by-county breakdown of reported cases:
- Oahu: 334
- Maui County: 57 (including 2 on Molokai)
- Big Island: 28
- Kauai: 18
- Pending: 3
- Diagnosed out of state: 2
More than 15,000 people have been tested for coronavirus in Hawaii.
At the state’s news conference Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green also said the state would start testing close contacts of those who positive for coronavirus, even if they have no symptoms.
The Health Department and Green had publicly disagreed over whether to test asymptomatic people.
This story will be updated.