Kauai’s 4-day work week begins as county slowly starts to reopen

Updated: May. 4, 2020 at 7:38 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hundreds of county workers on Kauai are shifting to a four-day work week that goes into effect on Monday.

Mayor Derek Kawakami says the new 10-hour shifts are meant to reduce movement on the island while continuing to operate at full capacity, an effort to continue to prevent the spread of coronavirus on Kauai, which has gone more than two weeks without seeing any new cases.

“It’s a balancing act at this point,” Mayor Kawakami said Monday, during an interview on Hawaii News Now Sunrise.

"As we allow more of our local businesses to open, we have to take a look at where we can scale back the amount of people who are moving about. We’re talking to our people about being flexible.”

Pay for county workers will not change as a result of the decision to move to the four-day week.

Under the temporary change, most county offices will be closed Fridays but remain open from 6:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

The new hours are expected to make it easier for many Kauai residents to conduct county-related businesses.

“It should offer additional customer service. People usually have to take a day off or sacrifice their lunch break to get in,” Mayor Kawakami said.

The change in hours is just one of several measures Kauai is preparing to undertake to begin to reopen sectors of its economy.

“Our team has been coordinating with the state as far as looking at different industries by risk,” said Kawakami. “Instead of essential vs. nonessential, were looking at what industries can get back online based on risk assessment."

“At this point, every aspect of our local economy is essential,” he added.

Some businesses, like construction, have been allowed to move forward and a more typical pace than others.

But Kawakami says he’s been satisfied with the way his administration has weighed risk with reward when it comes to the economy.

“On Kauai we have a timeline, we have a good strategy, and we reassess the strategy on a daily basis,” Kawakami said. “We’re in a favorable position at this point.”

This story will be updated.

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