LIHU‘E– Today is the first day of the Kaua‘i stay-at-home order, which went into effect just after midnight Tuesday, residents were stocking up to hunker down as Mayor Derek Kawakami released the details of the Kaua‘i stay-at-home plan.
Governor David Ige issued a statewide order Monday, allowing individual mayors to further refine rules as needed to fit their counties.
The public is asked to stay at home and work from home through April 30th.
Kawakami announced Tuesday the overarching goal of the stay-at-home rule is “limiting as much movement as possible” on island, with caveats for potential responsibilities.
Those caveats include obtaining necessary supplies and services; engaging in activities essential for health and safety of family and household; caring for families and household members; and engaging in exercise and outdoor activities.
Businesses should operate remotely or online if at all possible. Employees of businesses should telework if at all possible. Those businesses that cannot operate remotely will be limited to essential services only, such as those that provide for health, safety, food, utilities, and/or manufacture, sell, or deliver supplies and services necessary for household consumption, according to Kawakami’s order. Many families and individuals are prepared to stay at home until the order is finished.
“The more we move and the more we mix socially, the more this virus moves and the more it advances into our community,” Kawakami said in a Tuesday announcement. “But this is an ongoing battle that is going to require self-discipline and to a level self-governance.”
As of Monday there were four confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Kaua‘i, statewide that number rose to 90 on Tuesday, and the state Department of Health confirmed the first COVID-19 related death, an elderly adult on O‘ahu.
See Emergency Rule No. 5 at kauai.gov for Kauai’s local rules for the stay-at-home order.
Tuesday, families were preparing to lockdown.
Maricel De Venecia, of Hanamaulu, is used to spending time at home. She left her job in November due to her daughter’s schedule of church activities. Now, her stay-at-home mom job has gotten bigger.
“First, I buy all the necessities especially rice, paper towel, wipes, hand soap, toilet paper, and plenty of bleach. That is very important to us,” said De Venecia. “My husband is older, so first thing every morning before my family wakes up, I bleach the toilet and the floor. I don’t even have time for coffee. When they wake up they use the toilet first. I feel so tired cleaning all the time.”
De Venecia worries about her two kids who will now be staying at home, thanks to a Department of Education decision to close school through April 30.
So, De Venecia has been encouraging them to stay active and busy.
“When they wake up in the morning, I ask my kids to go outside and get some sun,” said De Venecia.
De Venecia’s children John Alcaraz, a forth grader at Wilcox Elementary and Michaela Alcaraz, seventh grader at Chiefess Kamakahele Middle School, there are mixed emotions in their home regarding the idea of staying at home until the end of April.
“I feel relaxed because I don’t have to study all day,” John said. “Not bored, but I have to wash my hands all the time.”
His sister Michaela, is bored. Tuesday, she was inside of her home, sighing while looking outside her window.
“I want to go to school instead. I miss it,” Michaela said.
Meanwhile teachers like Florence Tavares from Wilcox Elementary School are working hard on finding ways to help their students learn from home.
“I need to go in to work to prep work for kids who don’t have access to tech for online learning. Its called Alternative Learning 2020 instead of distance or visual learning,” Tavares said.
Tuesday, Tavares was busy helping kids and getting herself and her home prepared for the lockdown.
“I have already purchased the essential stuff…vitamins and prescription refills was at the top of my list. My gas tank is full and I have cash on hand. I was sure to pay all of my bills,” Tavares said.
Tavares is one of many teachers on Kaua‘i who will be working from home. Besides her school being closed, many other events she was involved in was also cancelled.
“OCC conference in Anaheim was cancelled and church of course many are streaming. COVID has really put a damper on social interaction and physical greetings which embodies the Holy Spirit and what most of our culture is accustomed to,” Tavares said.
Other residents like Cynthia Cuevas from Kalaheo are reflecting and being mindful of what’s going on in her surroundings and learning to be thankful.
“COVID19 has tested my boundaries in all realms, creating immersed learning experiences on a daily basis. Being confined to your home is one thing, having a screaming baby echoing through your windows is another,” Cuevas said.
She continued: “As I listen to the neighbor’s baby cry, I am reminded of how blessed I am to have shelter, food, nurturing family, amazing friends, and electricity to turn the volume up on my TV. Among the chaos of what is now our reality, we have the choice to stay positive and find a sliver lining.”