Hawaii’s mayors discuss efforts to reopen economy, prevent spread of virus

Coronavirus Pandemic: Hawaii's Response (5/13/2020)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a panel discussion on HNN, Hawaii’s four mayors outlined how they’re safely reopening the economy — and preparing residents for a “new normal” in the weeks and months ahead.

Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino and Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim spoke for an hour, detailing their hopes — and their concerns for the future.

All of them agreed that it will be difficult to reboot the tourist economy and it’s vital that Hawaii begin to seek out opportunities for diversifying industry. “We need to not put all our eggs in one basket,” Kawakami said.

“Right now if we had to make a decision, everyone would say no,” Kim said on reopening tourism.

One question they tackled from a viewer: When will houses of worship open again?

The answer: Hopefully, soon. But residents should prepared for social distancing guidelines. And some traditions may remain on hold for now.

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino said he’s hoping that services could resume in as little as a week.

“My church in particular, they have almost 400 week. When they did social distancing, they could hold 89,” he said.

Meanwhile, the mayors brushed off concerns about the potential for “civil unrest” voiced by the state’s COVID-19 incident commander. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said while there have been protests, he doesn’t expects riots.

Caldwell did say protesters showed up at his Manoa home on a Sunday afternoon.

“They have that right under the first amendment. I thought it was inappropriate to come into our neighborhood and disturb our neighbors,” he said.

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