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Lt. Gov. Green repeats call for stronger mandates as Hawaii sees another day with 200-plus cases

Published: Aug. 24, 2020 at 4:20 AM HST|Updated: Aug. 24, 2020 at 4:21 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sunday was the fifth straight day that Hawaii saw more than 200 new COVID-19 cases. It’s an alarming situation — and one that Lt. Gov. Josh Green says is unsustainable.

In an interview with Hawaii News Now, Green repeated a call for stronger restrictions to dramatically bring down community spread of the virus and protect the state’s hospital system.

“It’s going too difficult, very difficult to stop the spread without a total lockdown for four weeks,” said Green.

A little more than two weeks ago, the city closed down beaches, parks and hiking trails on Oahu in hopes of preventing people from gathering — and spreading COVID-19.

And then last week, the city announced another round of restrictions, preventing people from gathering in their own homes and keeping groups to no more than five people at most businesses.

Green said the rules simply aren’t enough.

He believes more employees should be working at home and that people in groups of five at a restaurant should be wearing masks.

[Read more: 248 new COVID-19 cases reported, pushing statewide total to 6,600]

“The measures that were put in place ... still have large loopholes you can drive a truck through,” he said.

Green acknowledged a complete lockdown is going to be difficult for already struggling Hawaii businesses. But he said people are already voluntarily going out less because there are so many cases.

“This is a very pro-business position actually: A shorter, tighter, stronger lockdown will get us out of it faster,” he said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell and Gov. David Ige have resisted calls for a broad economic shutdown on Oahu, saying that closures of public spaces are meant to prevent “unrestricted gatherings.”

They say businesses are able to police patrons, requiring them to wear masks, but there is no such enforcement at parks. They’ve also claimed that there are many COVID-19 cases linked to gatherings.

On Twitter on Sunday, Caldwell noted that Hawaii has seen three consecutive weeks of triple-digit increases in COVID-19 cases. “We need drastic action to get this thing back under control, and that starts with each and every one of us,” Caldwell said. “We all need to be part of the solution to bring Hawai’i back again.”

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