LIHU‘E — Governor David Ige on Thursday announced the reinstatement of a partial interisland travel quarantine effective Tuesday, Aug. 11, prompted by a statewide surge of COVID-19 cases and discussions with county mayors.
The 14-day quarantine will be for any interisland travel for those arriving in the counties of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i, Maui and Kalawao, according to a press release from Ige.
The quarantine requirement applies to any person traveling to these islands. The period of self-quarantine will begin immediately upon arrival and last 14 days or the duration of the person’s stay on the island, whichever is shorter.
The interisland quarantine continues through Aug. 31 unless it is terminated or extended by a separate proclamation.
Thursday, the governor said he and all the county mayors agreed that additional measures are necessary to make sure that cases do not spread, uncontrolled, across the entire state.
“I know many of you will be disappointed to hear this news. Interisland travel is an important way for families and friends to stay in touch. I wish this was not necessary, but your health and safety must always come first,” Ige said.
He encouraged anyone traveling interisland to check airport websites for updates.
Mayor Derek Kawakami said Thursday he supports the reinstatement of the interisland quarantine through at least the month of August.
“It is disheartening to have to take a few steps back in order to move forward, but it is necessary given the recent outbreaks on O‘ahu,” Kawakami said in a statement Thursday.
“Kaua‘i may be an island of its own, but we are all connected. The quarantine allows us a layer of protection to help us keep our island and our people safe,” he said.
”This measure also allows our county to remain in the ‘Act With Care’ impact level, and spares us from having to shut down businesses and public spaces like O‘ahu has had to do.”
Ige and O‘ahu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also announced more restrictions on O‘ahu, including the closure of all beaches and parks. In addition, officials are closing O‘ahu bowling alleys, arcades and mini-golf facilities, as well as all parks, recreational facilities in parks, campgrounds and botanical gardens.
Caldwell’s amended order allows fitness facilities to remain in operation with physical-distancing and face-covering measures in place, though group classes are prohibited. Many other businesses and types of services are allowed to continue operations under the amended order.
No new restrictions or reinstatement of restrictions have been announced for Kaua‘i, as of publication of this article.
Thursday, state officials cited large, unauthorized gatherings and social crowding as the reason for closing O‘ahu parks and beaches, connecting the recent surge in virus cases to these types of gatherings.
State Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case said in a statement Thursday, “the current surge of COVID-19 cases on O‘ahu requires immediate action for public health and safety.
“This surge has been attributed to not wearing protective facemasks, being in large social gatherings, and some people simply ignoring the health practices that have been implemented to try and get coronavirus under control.”
As state officials coordinated the reinstatement of some pandemic rules, health officials announced a delay in reporting COVID-19 numbers because one of the state’s private clinical labs is having issues with electronic lab reporting.
Staff from the state Department of Health is working to compile numbers, according to state officials, who said Thursday that as soon as these numbers are available, they’ll be posted at hawaiicovid19.com and will be distributed under separate cover.
Hawai‘i reported two more casualties due to COVID-19 on Thursday. Both individuals were O‘ahu residents, were elderly, and had underlying medical conditions.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said, “The passing of these people really demonstrates how rapidly and invisibly COVID-19 is spreading through our communities, particularly on O‘ahu, and in some instances in association with clusters. The man who passed away was exposed by a household member who attended a spin class at a gym with a cluster of cases linked to a positive case from an airlines cluster.”
Jessica Else, editor-in-chief, can be reached at 245-0457 or firstname.lastname@example.org.