COVID-19 rules confuse homeowner

  • Courtesy of Mounque “Monk” Barazone

    This is Mounque “Monk” Barazone’s Kaua‘i Beach Villa condo near Hanama‘ulu that he rents out as a vacation rental when he is not on the island.

  • Courtesy of Mounque Barazone

    Mounque “Monk” Barazone is seen at his home in Ohio.

LIHU‘E — Mounque “Monk” Barazone wanted to rent his one-bedroom, oceanfront condo at Kaua‘i Beach Villas last week.

A family reached out to him about his property that he has listed on the vacation-rental site VRBO. They wanted to isolate their grandparents from the rest of the family to keep them safe, just in case.

Barazone agreed, and also cut the price substantially. However, he wanted his housekeeper to ensure the space was clean and sanitized daily, since it is his home. When he came to her with the job, she said she couldn’t come.

“She said she wasn’t essential,” Barazone said over the phone from Ohio, where he is hunkering down during the global COVID-19 pandemic. “She said it was against the rules.”

Barazone then called the Kaua‘i Police Department’s non-emergency line, and they told him the same thing.

So he turned away the family.

However, housekeepers are essential according to the “critical trades” section of Mayor Derek Kawakami’s emergency rules that limit travels for non-essential activities. These rules localize Gov. David Ige’s statewide stay-at-home order that became effective last week.

The rule states that “service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences” are allowed. And Barazone and his housekeeper aren’t the only ones confused. Other residents have been voicing confusion on the mayor’s stay-at-home order as well.

Last week, the KPD began setting up daily checkpoints throughout the island to enforce these rules.

Before doing so, KPD trained its officers on the emergency rules, according to the mayor’s Chief of Staff Sarah Blane, in an email earlier this week.

The checkpoints, which have been on-going, essentially stop residents to ask where they are going to make sure they are in compliance with the emergency rules.

When the rules came out earlier this month, the county listened to residents.

“After publicizing emergency rule No. 5, we did receive feedback from the public and businesses owners,” Blane said. “After receiving this feedback and consulting with health officials, we were able to amend those rules accordingly.”

Some of the exceptions to the rules include exercise, picking up groceries and going to the bank. The KPD recently published a four page list of frequently-asked questions, too. TGI is endeavoring to help clarify specific questions related to the stay-at-home order as well. Questions can be submitted to: tinyurl.com/TFIQ-A. See A4 for recent questions and answers.

Barazone’s business

Since the enforcement of quarantines and lockdowns went into effect and a near stop in airline flights and visitors entering the island, Barazone’s been losing money. And fast.

“I’m refunding people faster than I have money coming in,” he said.

Normally, he would be making about $1,000 a week on his property.

Guests have canceled for all of April and May. Visitors expected to come in June are wary, he said, because they don’t know if lockdowns will be extended past federally mandated stay-at-home orders.

“The problem is, (the government) says April 30, which could easily become May 30,” he said.

Barazone is 71, and splits his time between Kaua‘i, California and the Midwest. With his own underlying conditions, including heart problems and diabetes, even he doesn’t want to travel.

“The last thing I want is to be exposed to it,” he said.

He’s since raised and lowered the price of the condo’s nightly rate. Normally, he’d charge between $99 and $129 per night, and makes between $20,000 and $25,000 income on rentals a year.

“I put it sky-high because if anybody wants to rent it, I have to account for disinfecting fees,” he said. Usually, he’d have about three or four inquiries on the space a week, but since March, he’s had none. Only cancellations. Barazone, who is self employed, said he’s concerned, too, with how he’ll pay his homeowners’ association fees and utilities in the upcoming months. The outbreak has not only slowed his rental business, but his construction and paving businesses on the mainland.

He wishes he knew more about the rules before he had to turn away the family looking to isolate their grandparents, and had to turn away his housekeeper.

It feels like “you can’t do anything. It’s not just impacting me,” he said. “If she can’t go clean, she can’t pay her rent, too.”

Blane suggested that those with questions can find the rules at kauai.gov/COVID-19, call the Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency at 241-1800, or message the county’s Facebook page. She discouraged calls to police dispatch for COVID-19-related questions or issues, unless they required police assistance.

•••

Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

16 Comments
  1. rk669 April 3, 2020 6:48 am Reply

    These new rules will soon wear on citizens,what then?
    Sitting at the harbor in my vehicle alone,amongst others as well alone in their vehicles! Along came somewhere Gestapo state troopers Rousting all of us sitting alone in our vehicles! People need a little peace in their life! Solitude is arrived with common sense,just to get away from it all! Law enforcement officers need a better understanding of what it’s like to be Confined only to their Homes,apt,or rooms! What about the people living on the streets,does the Govt of Hawaii have room somewhere for these homeless?


  2. Crystal Gem April 3, 2020 7:19 am Reply

    TGI are you serious with this article? No, come on really is this what you want to portray to the people of Kauai right now? This guy represents so much of what is wrong with Kauai right now. The arrogance and greed. You really think this sweet little old gentleman is just doing vacay rentals with “sky high” prices because he is some lovely human being? And he is so upset that his maid can’t come and clean for him, because “government confusing rules?”

    Oh, and worse, he looks like the kind of guy who should be staying home and away from people. The story about someones “little old grandmother, who cant isolate, so they want to pay for an expensive room somewhere to put her? Even though he graciously dropped the price?” The whole tone of this so called “writing” is atrocious, and detrimental to all that is trying to be accomplished by our Mayor whom I support one hundred percent.

    Here is the deal. Stay home. Only go out when you need too. Especially if you are this guys age in the photo. Poor, man. Whine whine whine, can’t get his tourism dollars or his maid to show up. Well, cry me a river.

    Your maid showing up isn’t essential. Pick up a can of lysol and a toilet-bowl cleaner and do it yourself. What, you cant clean your house? Without a maid to do it? Afraid of catching the virus? Well then, why in the world would you expose your precious maid to it then? Maybe she has a family and her health means more to her than the pittance that you probably pay her.

    Cleaning is essential of large public areas, not your overpriced as you said, “sky high” rental, sir! I suggest that if the government here is not to your liking, please hop a plane to somewhere where they vote red, and deny there is even a problem. I think you would be much happier there. Your type of person here is part of the problem and not the solution.

    We are trying to keep our island from turning into New York. Since all of New York was visiting here, and a good portion of California as well where i am sure most of your guests may have hailed from. I Understand that your little luxuries and niceties are not essential, and you need to get a grip. I don’t blame you, though.

    I blame the newspaper which seems to have lost its mind lately over coverage of this pandemic. The coverage has been all over the map with no consistency, and writing whiney articles like this is completely counter productive. So many writers here have called it “tongue and cheek”, in the comment section. That seems to be the best description, but I think its more like “sorry not sorry” journalism. I, like many others do not think its journalism either. The article has no balanced reporting, and the tone really does seem to skew towards the “poor little old man just trying to eek out a living and can’t understand why his maid can’t come and clean his toilets right now”.

    Yea, that’s not journalism. I would be really ashamed to have to show this article to anyone a few years from now when its all over, and you take a hard look in the mirror and see how you acted during the pandemic. As for your poor maid, I hope she finds much better work in the future. Perhaps you can ask one of those shamanic hippies lost in kalalau to come and clean it for you? Or at least they can reset your chakras and your auras for you or something. Right now, you are pretty out of whack.


    1. Chris April 3, 2020 3:50 pm Reply

      Well Said! Thank You!!!!


  3. Uncleaina April 3, 2020 8:09 am Reply

    Wow. Sorry the global pandemic means you can’t rent your condo guy. This is such an injustice to you. Wonder why you can’t make money shipping high risk individuals from the mainland to our tiny island with very few health care resources? That seems unfair to you. Really sorry about this. Hope you’re doing ok there in Ohio.


    1. Everythingisawesome April 3, 2020 3:01 pm Reply

      Pretty disrespectful of someone who pays for a huge chunk of the “very few health care resources” you DO have.


  4. Doug April 3, 2020 8:34 am Reply

    Bet the grandparents are from one of the mainland hot spots (NY, CA, Washington). What don’t people get about not coming here and infecting the island???!! Once the grandparents get here by the way, they are in 14 day isolation. That means no running to the store for supplies, what are they going to eat and who is going to take care of them?? They are much better off where they are so that family can run errands for them and they can stay away from stores etc.


    1. Everythingisawesome April 3, 2020 3:02 pm Reply

      Or maybe Kupuna from Lihue. You don’t know.


  5. YVONNE KEALOHA April 3, 2020 8:55 am Reply

    Dosent sound like this person is really struggling…his businesses…his three homes….he also surely collects social security maybe time for him to downsize….i too have medical problems i too have medical problems i am 77 and own one home the one i live in and i live on social security alone….it is not easy…but every day i see our count is not going up i feel


  6. YVONNE KEALOHA April 3, 2020 8:59 am Reply

    I FEEL GOOD THAT I AM NOT ONLY HELPING MYSELF BUT MY FAMILY AND THE WHOLE ISLAND….We all need to hunker down and make sacrifices so we all come out of this safe..GOD BLESS AMERICA AND GOD BLESS HAWAII


    1. Everythingisawesome April 3, 2020 3:11 pm Reply

      Liberals are only happy when everyone is un-happy.
      You’re right. This guy still has too many things to be happy about so he’ll get no sympathy, or compassion from me either!


  7. Marie April 3, 2020 11:13 am Reply

    What a jerk!!!!!

    ……..Hawaii needs to ban all non permanent residents from renting here. Other cities have, why haven’t we done so? We’ve shut down our island and tourist areas at great cost to all of us and we are letting a few jerks possibly bring the infection still to us?

    …….Because even with quarantine if they are sick they will end up in our hospital, possibly in our icu and expose our doctors and whoever else they come into contact with.


  8. Uncleaina April 3, 2020 12:55 pm Reply

    I want to support 100% what Crystal has said. It appears that you published a press release written by a vacation rental owner from Ohio complaining he can’t rent out his property while our whole island is under quarantine. Isn’t that about right? Hmm. What about this article important to the community? The headline is misleading- he knows why- he just wants attention to his “plight”. He’s not even a resident of our island. I see several new faces at TGI: they need to not publish fluff pieces. They should try asking someone who actually lives here about something that actually matters to those of us who do. As for this guy, he’s disrespecting everyone who is working to keep OUR COMMUNITY safe.


  9. Koconut_Wireless April 3, 2020 7:13 pm Reply

    How about you open your home to some of the residents here. For a safe place to quarantine? If you want to do what’s right?? There are MANY elders here needing shelter and safe place away from the TOURISTS and THE VIRUS COMING FROM THE MAINLAND. NOT ALL COVID-19 + have symptoms…wrap your rich entitled head around that??? You won’t get any sympathy over here. Stay over there.


  10. boohoo April 4, 2020 8:02 pm Reply

    WAH! oh dear, let us all console the poor mainlander who can’t make money off his kauai condo right now…


  11. Cheri April 11, 2020 5:07 pm Reply

    Does anyone know the rules if you have a property that is designated as a vacation rental and a LOCAL wants to rent it either for the 14 day quarantine or as a “long term” rental?


  12. Heidi April 25, 2020 3:26 pm Reply

    Two Travellers, walking in the noonday sun, sought the shade of a wide-spreading tree to rest. As they lay looking up among the pleasant leaves, they saw that it was a Plane Tree.

    “How useless is the Plane!” said one of them. “It bears no fruit whatever, and only serves to litter the ground with leaves.”

    Reading these comments about Hawaii and how it appears to hate tourists reminds me of this parable. A proper ending would be that the tree in protest, no longer provides the much-needed shade. And, those laying under the shade complaining, all die of heatstroke!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.