Mayors push back on plan to reopen tourism but aren’t sure how long it should be delayed

Updated: Jul. 10, 2020 at 6:10 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim says he doesn’t know whether the governor will ultimately decide to push back the reopening of tourism, but he wants him to.

“This morning I was lead to believe he will postpone the dates,” said Kim.

So far, Gov. David Ige hasn’t indicated how he’ll come down on the issue.

But he’s getting pressure from all four county mayors to push back the start.

Kim believes reopening tourism is not about a specific date, but making sure Hawaii’s system for testing and tracing is in place.

He also said the state couldn’t have known how bad the situation would get on the mainland.

Infections have surged to record levels in a number of states, including California.

“My position remains steadfast in regards to pointing out to the governor and his task force that I could not accept the Aug. 1 or even moving up to Aug. 15 because so many things were not in place yet to assure monitoring of people coming in from the mainland and how explosive things were,” said Kim.

"I think all three mayors were concerned because we are so called boots on the ground," he added.

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino also has concerns about the plan and thinks the reopening wouldn’t happen until Sept. 1.

“So for most of us, we are looking at a later date,” he said.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami, meanwhile, talked about the uncertainty.

“As it stands right now, with the environment shifting so drastically with each passing day, it would be difficult for us to provide a specific date,” he said.

“We just don’t know what our forecast will be in two weeks or even a month from now.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell deferred to an announcement from the governor.

In a statement Friday morning, Ige said the meetings have been productive.

“We’ll make an announcement when we are satisfied that the plans will protect the health and safety of our residents and guests,” he said.

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