LIHU‘E — “A lot of people were ready to rebound,” Levana Lomma said Wednesday afternoon. “Now they won’t have a Christmas.”
About 25 people protested the state’s mask mandate and the county’s temporary Safe Travels shutdown yesterday afternoon. The group started around 11 a.m. in front of the Lihu‘e Civic Center before moving toward the Historic County Building by 12:30 p.m.
Protesters continued through the early afternoon, waving signs calling for reopening and loosening restrictions while others insinuated the pandemic was a hoax.
Yesterday was the first-day travelers coming into the county were required to quarantine for 14 days. The county is temporarily opting-out of the state’s Safe Travels program which allowed travelers to bypass a two-week quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival into the state.
Lomma feels like her rights are violated with the quarantine being in effect for all people, not just those who have knowingly been exposed to the novel coronavirus.
Part of the state’s statues defines a quarantine as separating those “individuals or groups believed to have been exposed to or known to have been infected with a contagious disease, from individuals who are believed not to have been exposed or infected, by order of the department or a court of competent jurisdiction.” State emergency laws supersede statutes like these with governor orders.
In June, Lomma, with her organization For Our Rights, filed a lawsuit in federal district court seeking to have Gov. Ige’s emergency proclamations regarding COVlD-19 declared unconstitutional.
In October, Lomma, as the sole plaintiff, filed another federal complaint challenging the state’s mask mandate.
“If Kawakami is really trying to protect the health of the community, he needs to look at the implications (of the shutdown),” Lomma said, pointing to business shutdowns and mental health.
It’s an issue that affects her personally with Christmas coming, her son, who lives in Florida, would not be able to visit Kaua‘i without having to sit through a two-week quarantine.
Kaua‘i Police Department officers monitored the situation from a distance.
The group protesting Wednesday mobilized online.
Shyla Moon, who works in the hospitality business, has been unemployed since March. She hasn’t been recalled to work and is trying to keep her hopes up.
“It’s OK that Hawai‘i needs tourism as an industry,” Moon said.
Holding a sign that reads, “Every business is essential,” Moon explained that some of her friends have had to close their shops and move off island.
“I hold this sign today for my friends.”