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Loosening up the rules

LIHU‘E — County of Kauai has loosened restrictions for construction and landscaping and for realtors starting today, cracking open the stay-at-home mandate and allowing some local residents to get back to work.

Mayor Derek Kawakami announced Tuesday that starting today those in the trades can work on residential construction projects — but there can only be two workers and the homeowner present at the job site at one time.

That applies only to jobs with an open building permit with the Department of Public Works.

Other requirements include that the two workers and homeowner on site maintain a distance of six feet or more between them at all times, unless a closer distance is required for safety; wear a covering over their noses and mouths; do not share tools; do not travel in the same vehicle, unless they are members of the same household; establish a handwashing station; and limit trips to hardware stores.

Landscapers can resume working today as well, with no more than one landscaper per parcel of less than five acres and three employees on parcels between five and 10 acres.

Landscapers must follow the same social distancing guidelines laid out for those in the construction trades, and must also provide a portable toilet on site or parcels over 10 acres in which five landscapers are present.

“We feel comfortable making these operational adjustments given the island-wide masking protocols that started today,” said Mayor Kawakami in a Tuesday public address. “Although these have been confirmed by our health officials to be low risk activities, it is still a risk. We are asking those individuals who are resuming work to please refrain from excessive travel.”

Also starting today, realtors with properties in escrow are allowed to close their listings provided they were posted prior to Tuesday, April 14. . Real Estate professionals doing rental property management are also included.

Kawakami said these individuals must not take any in-person meetings unless to sign documents or view the property; not travel in the same vehicle; not have in-person open houses; and only conduct due diligence or contracted activities on a property, ensuring only two persons on site at a time. All persons assisting in real estate activities must maintain a distance of six feet or more between them at all times.

All of the other Emergency Rule mandates are still in effect – including mask-wearing and stay-at-home orders.

Health officials reported there were a total of five remaining active cases on Kauai as of Tuesday afternoon. Of the 21 total confirmed cases since the end of February, 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.

A total of 515 individuals have tested positive for the virus statewide, and of those 333 have been released from isolation. Nine have died.

Hawaii Tourism Authority latest figures report a total of 16 people landed on Kaua‘i on Monday — two were crewmembers, eight were residents and six were visitors.

  1. Everythingisawesome April 15, 2020 4:58 am Reply

    “no more than one landscaper per parcel of less than five acres”

    King Kawakami, did anyone even describe for you how big an ‘acre’ is? Let me help: it’s about the size of a football field. Maybe you were thinking pool table or ping-pong table? Are you just throwing darts with a blindfold on?

    Again. Where is your crowded hospital? Where are all the sick people? There is no state of emergency and no rational reason for paranoia on Kauai.

    1. numilalocal April 15, 2020 12:47 pm Reply

      The reason there’re so few COVID cases in Kauai is that most of us have, with no grumbling. adhered to the stay-at-home and social distancing directives. Drop them now and we’ll have a wave of sickness.

      1. Everythingisawesome April 15, 2020 5:58 pm Reply

        Numilalocal, please read my comment from a few days ago. It’s not possible that this island, with over 300,000 visitors from all over the world between November and March, didn’t have visitors and residents that were carriers of this virus. Not possible. There was even a couple from California that came here unknowingly carrying the virus, exposing many people to it, all before social distancing was put in place, and there was NO community spread. Either (1) they didn’t really have it, (2) they had it and it spread to people that have shown NO symptoms or (3) they had it and it didn’t spread even with no mitigation (distancing and masks) in place. These masks, road blocks and social distancing make you all feel noble and responsible but it hasn’t done anything. Prove me wrong.

  2. Todd April 15, 2020 5:07 am Reply


    What is the latest on the Coco Palms? I first visited there in approx. 1990 and met Larry and his brother Ernie (from Tucson, AZ). I have been back 9 times since and will be back again in September.


    1. ok April 15, 2020 12:56 pm Reply

      if you respect this island and those of us who strive to service you when you come here please re phrase your statement to say, if possible and safe ill come again to kauai in September, not your just on your way to a place your not welcomed if this pandemic continues. thank you.

  3. Ohana April 15, 2020 7:40 am Reply

    Not fair. Not cool for people that have to stay at home to have construction noise next door all day long. Promoting real estate and still over priced rentals is not essential, nor beneficial at this time as people have hard time paying rent and mortgages. You bet vacation rental management will miss-use this, and “visitors intending to become residents”. This was not a wise move.

  4. Carol April 15, 2020 7:43 am Reply

    Why do we continue to let travelers that do not live on Kauai onto the island? Can we tell the airlines not to travel to Kauai? Even when we totally open the island again can’t we ask that no visitors arrive until we haven’t had any virus for at least a month?

    1. RG DeSoto April 15, 2020 2:55 pm Reply

      Geeeze, Carol. Have you never heard of the US Constitution? Interstate travel and commerce can’t just be prohibited anymore than your right to spout nonsensical drivel can.
      Get a grip…
      RG DeSoto

  5. Everythingisawesome April 15, 2020 8:14 am Reply

    Democrats: If there’s one thing we can count on it’s that climate will change. Let’s say that people are the cause for climate change and say we need to control every aspect of everyone’s lives or we’re all going to die.

    Also Democrats: If there’s one thing we can count on it’s that people get old and die. Let’s say that people are dying because of a virus…

  6. Charlie Chimknee April 15, 2020 9:45 am Reply

    My God, Derek, you are demonstrating hysterical fear and paranoia, to the point of a diagnosis requiring Stay at Mahelona Lock Down Time.

    Derek, Only 5 people out of 75,000, are requiring at home bed or TV REST, even maybe some light gardening. This is not a time for panic. 5 people sick means 74,994 are not sick…or 99.99994% of the people are well.

    Derek we are a Healthy people for the most part on Kauai, we are internally strong to “weather” this flu just all the rest Of the flu viruses that pass thru the last 100 years…whether brought back by Aunty from her trip to Vegas, or Uncle Wu Kung Flu visiting from Wuhan, China…we can handle…we don’t need your hero fear, and don’t scare the keiki.

    Derek, whoever is advising you is amongst those who make large salaries by needing lots of sick people, and want to sell the vaccines by the billions when they pop it onto the market like another hula hoop fad…or WACK-A-Mole…?

    Calm down, take a Chill Pill which should be a 1/2 hour in the sun at the beach (both sides like toast) and an hour shredding some waves. Go home, relax, take the rest of the day off, you’re our Mayor, you deserve it…you’re doing a fabulous job as Mayor, but you and whoever is advising you is not qualified in the perpetuation of Health…sounds like you listening to the Disease Care people needing sick bodies to make a living.

    You can get 5 of the Essential Elements of HEALTH at the Beach…Surfing and lying in the Sun. SWARE…Sun Water Air Rest Exercise. Visualize your feet walking in the invigorating wet sand and a brisk walk saying Aloha to the people you pass that should be there too, they love you.

    Mahalo Derek…!

  7. Rev Dr Malama April 15, 2020 9:59 am Reply

    Haha, good one mayor happy dance!
    No way to enforce before, no way to enforce now!
    The world is alive today with the sound of spring, lawn and power equipment blaring away!

  8. Lulu Pak April 15, 2020 10:03 am Reply

    Why aren’t the airlines and their promoters pressured to stop selling tickets to Hawaii? And if they won’t, why don’t we have more of a police presence at the airport turning them back before they potentially infect our island? Maybe there needs to be a mandate from our government…

  9. ok April 15, 2020 10:35 am Reply

    I understand these are trying times, but how can a realtors job be essential? A farmers, a doctors, a nurse yes, but a realtors ? It was interesting that during the lockdown our leaders allowed habitat homes to continue working, as well as all state and fed construction jobs carried on, while shutting down all same kine private work. I cant figure out how that choice contributed to flattening any curve? For me it shows great gaps in how our leaders views us as their constituents. The reality is they can work, their state, fed and union jobs mattered more than flattening the curve? I believe these choices / actions made us all lock down for nothing, they our leaders should have locked it all down for everyones good or skipped the exercise in futility! . Does A carpenter on a fed job create more risk than a carpenter working on your home in Wailua? Why one worked and the other was ordered not to pierced the effectiveness of the lockdown and for that there is no excuse. in fact because of these policies the whole you cant work portion of the lockdown defeated the primary purpose of said lockdown and made the lockdown a waste of all our time. In the meanwhile I locked down and did not work, I did my share , did habitat for humanity? NO, did the union work on the bridges? NO, so if it is really what they say it these workers would’ve been locked down too. but they were not, so flattening the curve is way oversold to us the general public. When it looks like fish and smells like fish it usually is.

  10. Uncleaina April 15, 2020 1:10 pm Reply

    Mayor K is doing GREAT! Kauai has a rate 1/2 that of Maui. You toxic people who complain are just wrong! Look at what’s happening in another rural area: South Dakota. There, they let people do as they wanted and now it’s the largest hotspot in the USA. Dummies saying how low the rates are here – well it only takes 1-2 people to infect hundreds in a few days. How do you not understand this??? 26,000 people are dead in the us alone and that is despite the most aggressive social distancing in history! Maui memorial hospital = hotspot. Kona Macdonalds = hotspot. Smithfield pork plant 800 infected workers! What, cannot happen here? Think harder.

    1. Tim April 16, 2020 1:19 pm Reply

      South Dakota has only had 6 deaths total. Not exactly a hot spot

  11. RG DeSoto April 15, 2020 3:07 pm Reply

    This whole “loosening up” thing is a fraud. Read the Emperor’s declaration carefully. It specifically refers to residential construction for one’s PRIMARY residence where the HOMEOWNER is working on the job every day and can have two others helping him/her. This is a gimmick whereby the Emperor and his sidekicks avoid breaking the law, which they were by banning all private construction and openly defying the governors stay at home order which allowed all construction to continue.
    Think critically and consider just how many homeowners there are acting as owner builders. This change is a joke and an insult to the governor to boot. It also leaves the vast majority of builders and their crews in a world of hurt…the Emperor and his court, however, continue to receive their full taxpayer funded salaries. Now that’s fair isn’t it?
    RG DeSoto

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