The struggle between reopening and preventing a second wave of COVID-19 cases

The struggle between reopening and preventing a second wave of COVID-19 cases
Groups of people were seen gathered at Waikiki beach Friday, indicating that people are comfortable going out in public again (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii has one of the lowest infection rates and death rates in the nation and some say it is time to be more aggressive in reopening the economy.

"They should reopen restaurants and stuff. Tourists, slowly but surely, have to be cautious. But definitely the restaurants should open up and the bars,” said Ala Moana resident Peter Schuetz.

Groups of people were seen gathered at Waikiki beach Friday, indicating that people are comfortable going out in public again.

"Everyone is just stuck inside, so they're like if I have a chance to go out, then I'm going to. So, I think it's normal," said beachgoer Leah Smith.

Authorities are still warning people to keep up their guard.

The state says large gatherings still aren't allowed over the holiday weekend, even if you're headed to the beach.

They want people to continue to wear their masks, stay six feet away from each other and groups are limited to 10 or less.

The DLNR says a “mini-floatilla” was spotted at Maunalua Bay on Thursday.

They say the teenagers who tied the boats together broke multiple emergency rules, such as having boats less than 20-feet apart and having groups with more than 10 people.

A DLNR spokesman says this video was passed on to investigators.

While the government continues to crack down on people breaking social distancing rules, the next phase of reopenings will be another test.

"We have to bring life back to normalcy," said Victor Lim with Hawaii Restaurant Association.

The governor has allowed restaurants to reopen on Kauai on Friday.

The target date for Oahu and Maui County is June 5th.

He said he hasn't received a request yet from Hawaii County.

Lim said if the local economy isn’t reopened soon. there could be some serious lasting effects.

“The long-term effect of not opening soon is that many of the businesses might not open at all,” Lim said.

The balance is reopening while preventing a second wave of cases.

“Most people haven’t had COVID19, we have a ripe population to get the disease and we just don’t want that to happen and overwhelm the system,” said Diamond Head resident Mark Phillipson. “We probably need more testing and we’ll probably be in a situation where things are going to be limited until we get a vaccine.”

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