LIHU‘E — Mayor Derek Kawakami announced more rules for Kaua‘i on Monday that further closed county parks, require mask-wearing for everyone in public, and outline sheltering procedures for Kaua‘i’s homeless population — all effective at 5 a.m. today.
Now, per the mayor’s newly enacted Emergency Rule #6, everyone over the age of 5 on Kaua‘i is required to wear a cloth mask for most public activities when outside the home.
The only exceptions to the rule, which Mayor Derek Kawakami announced Monday, are when you’re exercising, entering a bank or other financial institution, or at the ATM machine, and when you’re in your own personal vehicle, with members of your immediate household only.
“If you live in a single family residence, you do not need to wear a mask while in your yard or otherwise on your property. However, if you live in a multi-dwelling home, or condominium, you must wear a mask in common areas,” Kawakami explained in a Monday public address.
On Monday, Kawakami also closed all county swimming pools, park pavilions and playgrounds, effective today. General park areas will remain open, provided social distancing is maintained.
Anyone caught not wearing a mask in public [except for approved activities] or breaking any of the other rules in Kawakami’s Emergency Rules are guilty of a misdemeanor and face fines up to $5,000 and up to a year imprisonment.
“Folks, our goal first and foremost in establishing these rules is to contain the spread of COVID-19 on our island as best we’re able,” Kawakami said Monday. “And because our community has done such a great job at heeding our Emergency Rules, we have so far been able to keep our number of positive cases low.”
He continued: “If we can continue to keep our numbers low, and continue to contain community transmission, we want to slowly get people back to work in a way that minimizes risk.”
Specific parks and procedures for sheltering the island’s homeless population were outlined on Monday as well. County of Kaua‘i formally designated Lucy Wright, Salt Pond, Lydgate, Anahola, and ‘Anini as places where the houseless community can be.
But, those who want to shelter-in-place in one of those locations have to obtain a no-cost permit in order to do so. Kawakami said county officers will be reaching out to people currently staying at the parks to arrange permits.
“This permitting system helps us to meet the needs of our houseless community who must shelter in place, while also helping to ensure proper social distancing for the health and well-being of all,” Kawakami said Monday. “To be clear, this invitation is being extended to those in our existing houseless community. These permits are not available to anyone subject to the statewide 14-day mandatory quarantine.”
Monday, the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 was at 21 on the island. Of those 21 cases, 16 individuals have either recovered or returned to their home on the mainland. The remaining five active cases are residents, three are in home isolation, one is in isolation at a facility, and one remains in isolation in the hospital. All but one case has been confirmed to be travel-related, according to officials.
Statewide, 504 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed with 315 of those released from isolation and nine deaths confirmed as of Monday.
Health and state officials are still sticking to their social distancing recommendations, and say the best way to keep exposure low in the community is to wear masks while outside in public, to practice social distancing and to practice enhanced hygiene.