HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Thursday extended Oahu’s “stay-at-home” order through June 30 while also lifting restrictions on more businesses and activities — and pledging more changes ahead if the island doesn’t see a surge in new COVID-19 infections.
Meanwhile, the governor said he planned to do the same. “I’ve told the mayors that my intention is to extend the safer-at-home mandate through the end of June,” Gov. David Ige said, in a livestream on Facebook. “Certainly, we will be extending the 14-day mandatory quarantine for all travel into the state till the end of June, but there are other businesses and activities … that are medium-risk activities that we’ll look at reopening.”
Examples of those more risky activities include dining in at restaurants and getting a haircut.
The city’s proclamation still requires a host of Oahu businesses to remain closed — from bars to restaurants to barbers and salons — prohibits gatherings, and encourages people to stay and work at home whenever possible.
But the new rule is seen as a step toward a more expansive reboot of the economy.
“We are being very cautious here," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell, in a news conference Thursday. "We’re a little slower than other places perhaps. We’ll be continually modifying this order as we see no new cases.”
The state reported zero new cases statewide Thursday for the second time in a week. But public health officials have warned that cases could jump as the economy reopens and people go out more.
The new emergency rule comes a day before Oahu retailers and shopping malls are getting the green light to reopen. They have already been allowed to reopen elsewhere in the state.
Also beginning Friday, the city said it would allow outdoor sports fields and courts to reopen for one-on-on activities, like tennis or yoga, as long as 6 feet of physical distance is maintained. And drive-in religious, spiritual or entertainment activities are now permitted as long as attendees stay in their cars.
Caldwell said he’s also eying a number of other changes in the short-term, including:
- Seeking the governor’s permission to reopen beaches for sunbathing and family-only gatherings.
- Allowing Oahu restaurants to reopen as early as June 5.
- Launching a pilot that would allow eateries to offer outdoor seating on sidewalks and in city parks.
The city’s new order is now officially called “Restore Honolulu 2.0” — rather than “stay-at-home/work-at-home” — reflecting the expanding list of businesses and activities now allowed.
It incorporates a host of previous requirements and guidelines, including mandates that people must wear masks during most public interactions and maintain social distancing guidelines.
At the news conference, Caldwell said he toured Ala Moana Center on Thursday and was able to speak to shop owners about how they’re preparing for the reopening.
The main message he got: Many of them are also taking things slowly.
Some are still working to re-hire staff, while others are trying to reconfigure their stores.
“What we do tomorrow as we open up retailers is going to show a result two to three weeks from now,” he said. “If we do the proper things, we should see a very positive result.”
This story will be updated.