LIHU‘E — Mayor Derek Kawakami tightened pandemic emergency rules on Saturday, as the state reported a new single-day record of 73 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Kaua‘i did not report any new cases on Saturday, and there are currently no active cases of COVID-19 on the island, according to the state Department of Health and Kawakami’s administration. The new cases were reported on O‘ahu and Maui.
Kawakami reinstated limits on social gatherings on Saturday, however, in light of the recent statewide spike in virus cases.
Additionally, he amended rules relating to masks, and enacted emergency rule 14, which bans transient vacation rentals from being used as quarantine locations for new residents.
The new and amended emergency rules now mandate that all people over the age of 5 wear masks, or some form of cloth face covering, over their nose and mouth — whether indoors or outdoors — whenever they are with anyone not in their immediate household.
There are limited exceptions to this rule, such as while eating or drinking, entering a financial institution, interacting with someone who may rely on lip reading for communication, or when exercising outdoors if physical distancing of at least six feet can be maintained.
A person who is unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability must have a written medical exemption provided by a medical doctor, advanced-practice registered nurse, or doctor of osteopathy. Medical exemptions should not specify the medical condition that precludes the wearing of face coverings.
Indoor gatherings are now limited to 10 people, “as several recent clusters have been tied to social events,” according to a Saturday news release from the Mayor’s Office.
The release further states: “The highest risk of disease transmission occurs while indoors, so indoor gatherings are now limited to a maximum of 10 people. If people must gather, they should do so outside. Outdoor gatherings remain at a maximum limit of 100 people. Mask-wearing, physical distancing and other CDC guidelines must be maintained during all gatherings. Emergency rule 13 applies to casual, social gatherings only, and does not apply to allowable businesses, operations or activities.”
Finally, transient vacation rentals can’t be designated as quarantine locations for new residents more than once in any six-month period. Emergency rule 14 addresses this loophole by stating that no transient vacation rental or homestay, as defined by the Kaua‘i County Code, may be used in this manner.
“Some transient visitors are stating that they are new residents in an attempt to avoid quarantining at a hotel, as currently required,” the release states.
“Irresponsible transient-vacation-rental operators are creating six-month leases, with separate agreements to break the leases early to accommodate transient visitors. Officials have noticed that multiple ‘new residents’ are producing long-term leases at the same address.”
The property owner, property manager, landlord, tenant and guest shall each be responsible for ensuring compliance with this rule.
Violation of the new rules could result in a fine of up to $5,000 and a year in jail, as it is with any person violating the governor’s or mayor’s emergency rules.
Jessica Else, editor, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.