Mayors consider bringing back restrictions as COVID-19 infections rise

County mayors weigh in on what steps should be taken following COVID spike

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The recent spike in coronavirus cases in Hawaii has county mayors asking the governor to roll back re-openings and reinstate restrictions.

Honolulu has the most active COVID-19 cases in the state, currently at 563.

And 98 of the 109 new COVID-19 infections reported Wednesday were on Oahu.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell says the figures are alarming and he is proposing plans to try to flatten the curve again.

“The number of people testing positive right now I think it’s like 5.5% in Hawaii over the past week. Very high. Used to be at about 1.5%. That is another trigger. It’s an alert,” Caldwell said.

He said the number of people on the beaches not practicing social distancing and not wearing masks is concerning and so he has proposed banning tents at parks and on the beach.

“We talked about how do we work together both the state and the counties to come up with some kind of mandate on tents in parks and on beaches not only in the city and county of Honolulu but in the state of Hawaii and I hope we will be able to announce something very shortly,” said Caldwell.

Caldwell also wants a temporary three-week bar closure after two bars were caught not complying with the mandates and two other bars were tied to COVID-19 clusters.

“We got an agreement from the Department of Health that they support the order,” he said.

“The Governor has reviewed the order. I have not received it back yet. So, it’s not in effect. But we want to get it back as soon as possible so we can implement it and close bars for three weeks.”

In addition, he wants any place that serves alcohol to stop the sale of liquor by 10 p.m.

Also under the new proposed order, gatherings on Oahu both indoors and out would be limited to 10.

Maui County Mayor Mike Victorino agrees the size of gatherings is too high and also wants to bans tents and umbrellas at beaches to prevent people from crowding in. “All outdoor gatherings dropping it down from 100 to 25 and looking at reducing indoor gatherings from 50 to 10,” said Victorino.

Victorino also sent a letter to the governor asking for a quarantine to be re-instated for inter-island travel.

While he is still waiting on the governor’s approval for that, Hawaii County’s Mayor Harry Kim said that is also something he is discussing.

“At this time, there has been discussions regarding inter-island and yes, that is a discussion. Right now, same as yesterday. If you’re inter-island, there is no quarantine,” Kim said.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said one of its two new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday is linked to inter-island travel and says now is not the time for leisurely travel.

“This is the first time that we have seen a Kauai case directly linked to inter-island travel,” he said.

“It is a good reminder that any off-island travel poses risks, especially as the cases across the state and nation continue to rise.”

All these proposals would still have to be signed off on the governor.

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