Stay-at-home order goes into effect for Oahu in bid to control spread of COVID-19

Stay-at-home order goes into effect for Oahu in bid to control spread of COVID-19

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A stay-at-home order for Oahu went into effect Thursday as part of dramatic action to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The order went into effect at 12:01 a.m. and will last for two weeks.

The order, signed by Gov. David Ige on Wednesday afternoon, is described as similar to the one issued in March. It allows essential businesses to stay open, including child care and some educational services, construction, and health care. Religious services will also be allowed.

But businesses not considered essential will have to close.

The list of non-essential businesses includes retailers, personal services (like salons and barber shops), gyms, and restaurants, which will have to revert to takeout only. Beaches and parks will also remain closed.

The order comes three weeks after bars were shut down on Oahu and more than two weeks since the state and city shut down all beaches and parks on Oahu in what authorities called a “scalpel” approach.

But Caldwell said those “strategic” actions haven’t worked.

“Now we’ve taken this more drastic measure and it does have an impact on business. I know it’s a struggle,” Caldwell said, adding the city will add another $25 million to a business relief program.

Gov. David Ige joined Caldwell at a news conference on Tuesday, when the order was first announced, saying the “stay-at-home” order was needed because daily, triple-digit increase in new coronavirus infections were putting “stress on our healthcare system.” He added, “Re-implementing a stay-at-home order is what Oahu needs at this time.”

But it was not immediately clear why the governor waited at least 24 hours after the order was announced before he actually signed it.

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On Tuesday, Ige stressed that the order would not impact the Neighbor Islands.

US Surgeon General Jerome Adams was also at the news conference, describing a new federally-backed testing program that will allow officials to conduct an additional 5,000 tests a day (from about 2,500 now).

“Yellow is where Hawaii is right now,” Adams said, at the news conference. “It’s why as the mayor and the governor emphasized it’s important to combine this temporary reset. It really only has to be temporary while we get testing, while we get contact tracing, while we get isolation done.

“You have the power to make it temporary.”

Green said the “stay-at-home” order will hurt, but “will also save lives.”

Authorities said the additional 60,000 coronavirus tests will allow Oahu to broadly test those in at-risk populations, including first responders, Pacific Islanders and those in public housing.

This story will be updated.

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