VOICES: ‘Thanks to your collective efforts, we are in a good place’

It’s still hard to believe we are approaching one year of our COVID response here on Kaua‘i. Throughout the past year I’ve learned a lot about viruses and public health, but I’ve learned a great deal more about our community’s grit and heart.

A year into this pandemic and we are proud to say – thanks to all of your efforts – that Kaua‘i is in a very good place in terms of our COVID cases, fatalities, and vaccine distribution. We also know it’s not that simple, and every decision we make has consequences – both good and bad. Those who rely on our tourism industry continue to struggle, and for many the question remains: “What’s next for us?”

Above all else, I want every one of you who has taken the time to write or call to know your voices are heard. While we have tried our best to be open and transparent on the reasons behind our policies, a short video update or media interview cannot fully capture all there is to say.

Our Kaua‘i’s COVID-19 Incident Management Team consists of over 30 professionals across county and state offices. We meet weekly with the primary goal of protecting health and safety, but we also evaluate other important indicators, such as economic impact.

Since October 15, 2020, when Safe Travels commenced, Kaua‘i confirmed 151 new COVID-19 cases on Kaua‘i (104 travel, 11 travel-associated, and 36 community transmission). The bulk of those cases were reported in the weeks during which Kaua‘i participated in the Safe Travels program. Of the 104 travel cases, more than half were individuals who had a negative pre-travel test but later tested positive while on Kaua‘i. An additional 31 of them had positive pre-travel tests, but the traveler had not received results until after their arrival on island.

The rise in case counts here on Kaua‘i, coupled with the rise in cases across the state and nation, led Kaua‘i to opt out of Safe Travels in early December.

Since Governor Ige approved Kaua‘i’s Resort Bubble program in early January, all 10 Resort Bubbles are seeing a steady increase in occupancy, and some are even projecting 100% occupancy next month. We continue to process more applications for properties wishing to join the Resort Bubble program.

Direct flight arrivals into Kaua‘i from the mainland remain low but are increasing, and we continue to steady capacity with incoming inter-island flights. Many mainland travelers are making Kaua‘i their second destination after spending at least three days on another island, then taking a pre-travel test before arriving on Kaua‘i. This ensures they’ve had two COVID tests – one prior to flying into the state and another test prior to flying to Kaua‘i.

Unemployment rates and Payroll Protection Plan loans remain stable, while construction industry indicators are seeing strong increases.

One of the leading factors behind opting out of Safe Travels was to allow our limited on-island resources to focus on our vaccine distribution program. Our low case count has allowed the Department of Health to implement a vaccine distribution program that is among the best in the nation. To date, one out of every five individuals eligible to receive a vaccine here would have already received at least their first shot. In total, we have administered more than 19,000 vaccines, with approximately 1/3 of those being second doses.

As Mayor, I constantly ask myself if we were to change course on travel restrictions would our economy be any different. However, I understand that no amount of data or statistics can paint the full picture of what our community has sacrificed to get to this point.

Right now, it’s clear that focusing on vaccines while maintaining our travel protocol is the strategy that works best for our rural community. The Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidance on both travel and vaccine protocols confirms our focused course of action.

We are preparing to integrate vaccination exemptions into travel protocols, so that we are ready once health officials deem it safe.

Additionally, we will continue to vaccinate as many people who wish to be vaccinated as supply allows. We believe this is the clearest path forward in getting back to some sense of normalcy here on our island.

In the meantime, we understand even the slightest boost to our economy will help many of our small businesses who are struggling. Thanks to your collective efforts this past year, we are in a good place to work with our community partners toward adding the state’s Safe Travels program for mainland arrivals in the late spring – provided case counts in our island, state, and across the nation remain stable. By this time, we anticipate all food service and hospitality industry workers on Kaua‘i to be eligible for vaccines.

We are also hopeful that by this time, the State’s Travel program will have travel protocols for those fully vaccinated, and we will continue to work with Governor Ige, our Kaua‘i Incident Management Team, and our community to help define what is in the best interest of our island.

Mahalo for your patience and love for one another, and for allowing me this privilege to serve you during these challenging of times. We are not yet over the hurdle, but as we have many times before, our community will overcome this hardship and be stronger and more resilient as a result.

•••

Derek Kawakami is the County of Kaua‘i Mayor.

37 Comments
  1. kauaiboy February 18, 2021 5:54 am Reply

    What is the PLAN, Derek? “…we are in a good place to work with our community partners toward adding the state’s Safe Travels program for mainland arrivals in the late spring”???

    LATE SPRING? AND YOU DO NOT HAVE A SOLID PLAN IN PLACE??

    Local business owners are starving, and the flow of money generated here on Kauai has been reduced to a dribble. UNLESS, of course, you are fortunate enough to own a “Resort Bubble” or a construction company.

    How about you get some spine and reduce your salary, and the salary of ALL County workers by 50%? Then, instead of raising property assessments as outside money drives housing prices up and up, reduce property assessments for local residents by 50%.

    That should help us hold on until “late Spring”…


  2. nobody February 18, 2021 5:59 am Reply

    Derek, please don’t sell Kauai out to the FP’s. We see them knocking at your door.


  3. Uncleaina February 18, 2021 7:02 am Reply

    Mayor you’ve done an outstanding job and everyone knows that. Sad to see a lot of ignorant people trying to force hb1286 on us. I was at the Marriott and it was full of tourists having fun and wearing their geofencing bands. Win win right there. Local businesses are vastly overstating how much business will return- it hasn’t happened on Maui etc. Stay the course and protect our vulnerable lives.


    1. Ainawengofish February 18, 2021 5:42 pm Reply

      Ignorance is relative uncle. I like protect my own life not be led around by the short hairs.


  4. In Support February 18, 2021 10:46 am Reply

    Mayor Kawakami, Thank you for this thoughtful update.

    As you are well aware, proponents of HB1286 are working hard to limit your authority. We all feel for the business interests that wish to open up sooner than is prudent, but it certainly seems they are ignoring the real risks your citizens face.

    You seem to be the only leader paying attention to the nuances of opening wisely, and the now updated CDC guidelines recommending a quarantine followed by an exit test.

    You also seem to be the only leader paying attention to the risk of the variants entering the islands and overtaking the vaccination rollouts.

    Thank you for your diligence and focus on the fuller picture, for keeping people safe, and to the degree you have been able for allowing Kaua’i’s children to lead as normal lives as possible during this pandemic.


    1. Panty Hose Supporter February 18, 2021 5:44 pm Reply

      Plenty of leaders know whats what. Try Dee Morikawa for one. You call this the fuller picture? What blinders on?


  5. Don’t pee on my leg February 18, 2021 10:50 am Reply

    “ Thanks to your collective efforts this past year, we are in a good place to work with our community partners toward adding the state’s Safe Travels program for mainland arrivals in the late spring – provided case counts in our island, state, and across the nation remain stable.”. So basically you are saying good job doing what you’ve been told to do. If you keep doing what we tell you and behave accordingly maybe in late spring you can have some economic tourism back. When’s late spring….March, April, may? C’mon man. Derek you sir are losing credibility. Show more transparency. We are getting sick of you thinking you know what’s best for us.


  6. Scott February 18, 2021 10:54 am Reply

    Maybe you could list all of the businesses which are no longer in business. The economy is not “stable”. Time to be more aggressive with opening up the island for travel or the list of closed businesses will increase.


    1. Scott Free February 18, 2021 5:56 pm Reply

      Can’t brah that would add shade to the rosy prepared statement disguised as an update or being transparent. Not.


  7. Lono February 18, 2021 11:27 am Reply

    All rosy are we? How about the TVRs so conveniently left out of the Bubble Program? Oh you say they can’t control their guests? I’d say that allowing them to do quarantining with the consequence of finding the guests outside in public during quarantine the reason to loose their license would be enough of an incentive don’t you Mr. Mayor? Why haven’t you made an attempt to address them in this manner? It’s always convenient to find an excuse and not bother addressing them in your statement. So why are they disallowed anyway?


  8. Kahea February 18, 2021 11:31 am Reply

    It’s just disgusting what mayor Kawakami has done to Kauai. Shame on you for destroying a booming economy! Open Kauai up now! You are so selfish! We do not live in a communist country so stop treating Kauai like we are! If you want to live in a communist country move to China! You have not a care in the world, you collect your 6 figuire salary no matter what and your wife purchases all her Gucchi and flaunts it all over social media while so many people have no idea how they will feed their family or pay their rent/mortgage because you have decided on your high horse it’s best to keep Kauai closed from all tourist! Horrible! When you are seen in public just out shopping you smile and wave at each person like you are in a beauty contest……you assume we all love what you are doing, you are 100% wrong! We are sickened by what you have done, by what you are doing and what you continue to do! You will never make it to the govenernors office with actions like this, dream on!


    1. Kahea's right February 18, 2021 5:55 pm Reply

      Don’t worry da mayor know what’s best for you and when it will be safe. Too bad you have no say in your life these days. Leveraging the pandemic to gain control and implement a no tourist policy that is the real reason for the clamp down is what the good doctor Kawakami has prescribed for the sheep who need to be cared for and decisions made for them. Communist rules with socialist policies.


  9. Paulo February 18, 2021 12:15 pm Reply

    Thanks go to Mayor Kawakami.


  10. USAF Brat February 18, 2021 2:16 pm Reply

    Wait what happened to the “cut bait” program you and Kollar attempted and what about current homeless camp closures. You and your circus minion have not paid attention, since before you were hired on as mayor. Enjoying the latest gopro and gucciwear? Do you really think you folks are fooling anyone but yourselves. Thanks to mask-wearing, we get a direct shot retroactively, looking into the windows to your soul and everyone elses soul for that matter; good, bad, and mostly ugly dank darkest yet. Kupuna rolling so hod, they disinterred.


    1. Bratty Top Gun February 18, 2021 5:51 pm Reply

      Rose colored view presented to the sheep led by the fear mongers and bass ackward leaders here.


  11. andy johnston February 18, 2021 2:54 pm Reply

    Mahalo nui loa to Mayor Kawakami for all you’ve done and all you do. The pro-business naysayers certainly are entitled to their opinions, perhaps they didn’t suffer tragic loss of life due to Covid in their families like we have in ours. Thankfully, nearly every one of my family members and close friends agree that life is clearly more precious than money, and we are fortunate to live in such a (relatively) safe place as Kauai. Let’s not forget that businesses and livelihoods have taken a huge hit everywhere in our country, but on Kauai we have not experienced the terrifying loss of life that so many other places have, largely due to Kawakami’s and other leader’s decisive actions, along with the mostly cooperative attitudes of the majority of Kauai residents.


    1. Andy's Johnson February 18, 2021 5:48 pm Reply

      If a real vote was taken you think that a majority of Kauai residents would support the anti tourism stance of the administration? How about the hidden health costs such as mental health issues, homelessness, family abuse or crime? Who knows how many lives were saved? Kawakami? You?


      1. james February 19, 2021 8:06 am Reply

        Yes, I think the majority would support how the Mayor has handled the pandemic, to answer your question. I believe your views are in the minority.


    2. Randy February 18, 2021 7:18 pm Reply

      Andy you literally depended on tourism to pay your bills for the 20 plus years you worked at the Hyatt. How hypocritical of you now that youre retired and well enough off to kick back and enjoy kauai with less tourists. You have no compassion for your old co-workers their families that desperately need to earn a full income. Remember who enabled your dream lifestyle for the last 30+ years of your life on kauai.


  12. Robin February 18, 2021 5:00 pm Reply

    Thank You Mayor! All you that are negative about what he has done. We have been safe. Instead of hearing your uncle or great uncle has died and no one got to visit him as he died, we have stayed safe. I literally have friends in some areas, that people have died they have worked with. Or friends relatives that have died.

    People are not being punished just because they want to shut off your income, this is a pandemic. Places that have been open have lost jobs and lives. Just because you want your job back will not make the pandemic disappear. We all would love to be back to normal, but it’s not going to happen by wishing it. You can’t ignore it and it will go away. This is a worldwide pandemic and it has changed the world. We have been one of the safest places and the Mayor has done an excellent job to keep it that way.


  13. Captain Cook's Conscience February 18, 2021 5:38 pm Reply

    Who is Mayor Kamikazi to decide my fate? Why hasn’t the mayor been transparent on when he will deem it is safe to open. Why hasn’t the mayor admitted that he is firmly against tourism? His actions belay that fact. Why haven’t the ICU bed totals been increased in the past year? Why hasn’t the mayor addressed the fact that Covid and it’s variants are never going to end? Why haven’t we been told that the other islands are doing fine and cases are dropping? Why are we being spoon fed pablum through rose colored glasses? Why isn’t the mayor discussing the fall out from people not working such as mental health issues and domestic violence? Why aren’t the homeless people being put to work to get them off the cycle of hand holding and expectations of being taken care of? Why is this statement just another glossed over statement being written instead of read from a piece of paper like a robot? Where are the town hall meetings where the mayor is communicating directly and answering questions from his constituents in real time and broadcast in a town hall setting? Why isn’t the fiasco of the unemployment situation being discussed? Why is the administration operating in a fear based capacity and not actively making decisions to open in a set time frame. Why did the administration just abandon the tier system? Who is the mayor to decide that his strategy is best for the community and what is the criteria on which that decision is based? Why hasn’t a specific definition of the term “When it is safe” been determined when in fact it never will be safe. Why hasn’t a community vote been initiated to see where the entire community stands on the current opting out of the safe travels system? Why don’t we see the mayor making personal appearances in the community such as homeless locations and meeting with the public? Why hasn’t the mayor defined his interpretation of the phrase “Community Partners”? So if every little bit will help the economy why aren’t more legal accommodations allowed to accept visitors who need to quarantine? Why doesn’t the mayor explain where all the care money went/is going and why some wasn’t used to add more ICU beds? It’s a nice rosy white bread picture the mayor paints for us as seen through his self entitled rose colored glasses. Another prepared statement but this time we don’t even see him read it. Who wrote this anyway?


    1. james February 19, 2021 8:13 am Reply

      He is your Mayor. If you don’t like it, vote him out or move and try living under different leadership, maybe in a Red State that would handle things more to your liking. Or, keep bitching and complaining in the letter section of the TGI. Those seem to be your choices. I, for one, think he has done a great job during the pandemic, as evidenced by our low numbers and the fact that so many folks want to move here during these times. He didn’t ask for this pandemic. He didn’t create this pandemic. He has handled things as he saw fit and I like the results so far.


    2. james February 20, 2021 7:23 am Reply

      Keep it short and to the point. You lost me after “no one has died from Covid”. If you can’t make your point in one or two sentences, don’t write a letter to the editor. Just some constructive criticism if you want us to read your offerings.


  14. Fecha Boca February 18, 2021 5:53 pm Reply

    Derek, many of us who are dissatisfied with the stranglehold the quarantine has on us and our businesses, we are many who helped elect you to be our mayor. But many of us are having second thoughts on your next election per what harm you are doing to so many from keiki to kupuna.

    Derek all those statistical numbers you gave us, as if we are all gonna die, are LUNACY…NO ONE DIED. ONLY 7 even Hospitalized out of 72,000 of us.

    Hospitals are notorious for adding COVID to the death diagnosis, and the bonus money they get has become infamous, that person, my close friend of almost 50 years alleged to have died of Covid, he was 85(?) and died of cancer but falsely labeled covid, and apparently someone removed the Covid diagnosis when challenged over it.

    Not one person in the USA has died from Covid by itself.

    Every death with a positive covid test has been preceded by AND accompanied with multiple pre existing chronic degenerative End-Of-Life diseases, AND complicated by multiple toxic and lethal prescription drugs, some patients taking 10 different drugs a day.

    People take those drugs for 10, 20, 30, and even 40 years or more. That is a lot of toxicity in poison put into one’s organs over that incredibly long length of time. It is clear that if you removed the virus from the diagnosis, That is if the person never had the Covid virus, it is a clear fact that they would still die from all those diseases and all those drugs.

    It is absurd to think that a virus that does not kill by itself, but when added to all those End-Of-Life diseases and toxic poisonous and lethal prescription drugs, that that virus becomes the cause of death and a reason to declare a worldwide pandemic when the same situation is going on year before year, decade before Deckard, century before century, and it’s just been called the flu.

    We may not be sure of a confirmed ulterior motive for this Covid fiasco, but there sure are a lot of facts that point to the profits to be made of a worldwide vaccination program I’ll be at the vaccines are either defective, harmful or not even vaccines.

    We, and akamai doctors all know that many cancer deaths are caused by the cancer treatments themselves, So a Covid positive tested patient on chemotherapy for their often self induced diet causing cancer, is said to have died of Covid, when their Stage 4 Cancer is the real cause, but money incentive is too convenient for hospitals to not call it death by Covid.

    That obviously sparks fear in those ignorant of their body, like people who agree to abdominal surgery for intestinal problems brought on by hamburgers, soda, and french fries, and who were not taught early on in life that food and diet and lifestyle can bring on diseases that under disease care force patients to accept mutilating surgery to their body.

    How sad people don’t know their are actual Health care practitioners who can teach people how to avoid surgery that mutilates body parts by scalpel work. Any doctor that would deny surgery mutilates people needs a polygraph test.

    That’s called the well known saying, “the treatment is worse than the disease”; and the radical treatment cannot do as well for the patient as a conservative treatment of change of diet and lifestyle. We all know people who got the knife when they would have done better with the fork.

    We all know you have 2 close advisors, one a disease doctor but technically and accurately NOT a Health doctor.

    We need Health to resist disease, not drugs, surgery, vaccines,and disease advice.

    Your expert planning advisor attorney may not be the all go to guy, because if this Quarantine is a planning deductive reasoning plan, it has become a disaster plan that is causing more disaster. Small business is the backbone of a community, employing people, and its income for the most part is a “traffic circle” bringing money into the circle but the roads (money) going out stay on the island.

    Derek, yours and your advisors Quarantine Plan has closed the small business traffic circle. What money coming in for the most part is leaving the island via the big Corporations.

    You sound too overly confident in the Pfizer Moderna vaccine. You and the media are calling this vaccine a “vaccine”, but in fact it is not a vaccine but has been refuse registration by the FDA as a vaccine because it is not a vaccine.

    The FDA has registered this fake vaccine as an Experimental Gene Therapy. The reason it is called experimental is because it has not been tested and it is called a Gene therapy because they are injecting Genes into our peoples bodies that have also not been tested.

    When it comes to walking, jumping, diving into water smart people look for rocks, coral, submerged danger, and even the temperature before going in. All people would be wise to test the testing of a vaccine. Oh, sorry there has been no testing, made with Warp Speed, no time for testing and those with side effects, well, just ignore that. Now they say they expected side effects.

    Not even God knows the outcome of playing with man made laboratory vaccine GENES injected into people, which appears more like genetic modification of humans. I’m sure most people do not want to be GMO’d with any Genes, especially untested manmade laboratory Genes.

    God made and naturally put our Genes into our bodies, and now people would foolishly allow pseudo scientists to take over the work of the Creator. Sounds like the work of the devil to me, Satan really.! And Pfizer says you will still get infected by the Covid virus but not to worry.

    Well if not to worry why bother take their fake vaccine.

    OH, but pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca vaccine is a vaccine because they put Chimpamzee Virus in their vaccine. Most people don’t even care to eat chimpanzees much less care to have their virus injected into our bodies.

    This vaccine business is getting pretty weird.

    And the Merck pharmaceutical company has pulled its two vaccines off the market because of the dangerous side effects caused by them. So instead they now recommend that people just go ahead and get infected by the regular natural Covid virus and its variants, and just let their own body naturally create their own natural immunity and their own becoming non-contagious, which puts all those naturally infected people in the needed Herd Immunity category.

    Laboratory Vaccines and Gene Therapy do NOT make people immune to Covid virus nor non-contagious, And VACCINES do not give people Herd Immunity.

    Derek, in error you say that Kauai is in a good place, like the only people matter are those on fixes government salaries, like yourself and your advisers, as well as those working for the big corporation retailers, and independently wealthy people, as well as the newcomers rapidly taking their place on Kauai and hiring those people in the building trades keeping them on good wages and business income.

    While that is a lot of you people it is not all of the people.

    Kawaii is part of the American democracy which means or stands for: “of the people by the people and for the people” and that means all the people.

    It is well known that the majority of the people who get the Covid virus are asymptomatic meaning they do not know they have the virus or had the virus. But it also means that within two weeks of their becoming infected they naturally become immune to the virus that means no longer can be reinfected, and it also means they’re non-contagious because they’ve basically killed off all the virus in their body naturally, and so they are unable to spread the virus to others. This also means that they are part of heard immunity.

    So if 98% of the people are asymptomatic that means at least 100 times as many people who have been reported to be positive, already have the virus and are asymptomatic and so we’re really looking more like thousands upon thousands of people in Kauai have already gotten the virus and are immune and non-contagious.

    This can be only expected to have occur because people only wear their mask inside of businesses and the rest of the time everyone is talking and chatting and intermingling with no masks on throughout the whole island.

    As to the bubble resort advantage, we spent a few hours the other evening at one of the bubble resorts and all of the visitors we saw, and their were many not wearing masks, and they were mingling with other guests, and they were mingling with us the local people, and they were mingling closer than elbow to elbow with the staff who most of which had their masks on but some drop them down to communicate. We had lots of inter-communication elbow to elbow and closer which staff at our dining table there was a lot of menu conversation but also plain old talk story between us the restaurant customers and the waiters and this was occurring the same at the tables occupied by the visitors.

    I might add that while some of us were sharing our dinners to save on our money, we are told the guest for spending $2,000 for their three nights of bubble resort quarantine, more $ than most people support their family with in a month on Kauai.

    By itself the Covid virus does not kill, what kills, is the multiple end of life shortening diseases and the many lethal prescription drugs people mix daily to manage their diseases, instead of working to get well and healthy.

    Too bad people self inflicting themselves with diseases caused by their abuse of snack foods flooded with sugars and chemicals.

    And overly dosing on daily prescription drugs.

    Bad food, diseases, and prescription drugs and petrochemicals kill, don’t ignorantly blame death on the virus.

    The similar flu killed similar people last year and before who were routine with bad food, multiple diseases, and on prescription drugs.

    it seems that the mayor in spite of this severe quarantine and continued lockdown that he is discriminating in favor of the rich people at Bubble Resorts, which certainly he is one of, but he don’t let you Quarantine 3 days in your own home.

    Perhaps we should’ve elected a regular financially down to Earth kine mayor.


  15. Heather February 18, 2021 7:20 pm Reply

    Can we have a fact checker. Please? There are at minimum 2 false claims:
    1) unemployment stability- fact- there are thousands of Kauaians unpaid for weeks or months due to incompetent and UNSTABLE unemployment.
    2) 💯 occupancy claim. Timeline questions as well as the fact that many of the hotels are running at minimum capacity. So, 💯 occupancy could be 💯 of a 25% capacity. If now outright false, it is highly misleading. Ask any of the local retail an restaurant business.

    We need accountability.


  16. Dawrek cowercommie February 18, 2021 8:20 pm Reply

    RECALL KAWAKAMI maybe since none of us hardworking individuals can operate our businesses or have been forced to close for lack of customers due to the authoritarian travel restrictions. Let’s all put our hardworking nature to either get this kook out of office or make this administration accountable to his constituents which he is clearly not. The way he worded this eloquently essay is BS it states nothing. Total puff piece. I agree. Fact check this bubble boy


  17. unbelievable February 18, 2021 10:31 pm Reply

    pah-lease! complete insanity. bubbles, 10 day quarantine for returning residents, encouraging tattling on friends and neighbors, invoking fear into residents, running businesses underground, etc etc. how about try promoting health and immune system function to be able to fight the virus?!? for example, ever see any of the NUMEROUS studies linking vitamin D to less covid disease?!? please derek, get advice from a medical professional who actually knows about promoting health, not promoting fear and all the rules we need to follow. there isn’t a doctor in your advisory panel promoting health. here’s a novel idea, why not make a name for yourself from that angle instead?! be the cool mayor from a Hawaiian island who promotes actual health for his community!! get kauai healthy…lessen obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc. then we don’t need to be so afraid of the virus and can open without the ridiculous hoops you are making everyone jump though. you could be famous for that, not your tik toks or your wife’s gucci purses. think about it…still not too late even after 330 days!!


  18. Jomama February 18, 2021 10:34 pm Reply

    If you don’t have a plan, plan to fail. Derek’s plan of the tier system was working fine but he never followed through. The day that elderly 85 year old man passed away (with Covid, not from it) was the day he opted out of his own tiered plan. I’ve never heard of any sold plan in the last year to increase covid gear, beds, ventilators, nothing. Fear = Control. Kauai’s people will be screwed due to the suppressed economy. The mayor should note, there will be little GET tax income and nearly zero TAT income. The only option to keep his government running is to increase property, GET, TAT, and state taxes in the future. We are already getting screwed and things are only going to get worse if we don’t join the safe travels program. Think for yourself and get a plan
    Kauai, or plan to fail.


  19. andy johnston February 18, 2021 10:44 pm Reply

    Hey Randy-Like I said: life is more precious than money. Losing a family member to Covid (forever!) is much sadder than a temporary loss of income. I have lots of compassion for my friends and former co-workers who are struggling to make a living, but at least they are still alive…big difference. Obviously you don’t know me or my family very well.


  20. Maxie February 18, 2021 11:53 pm Reply

    Mahalo Dictator Adolf Kawakami for destroying lives. Not since 1933 a leader unilaterally screw his people over out of hatred for white business owner. You Kauai Hitler…


  21. OpenKauai.com February 19, 2021 7:20 am Reply

    Please, everyone. We can not allow this to happen to us. This is beyond wrong. Our businesses are getting decimated and we should immediately move into the State’s “Safe Travel’s” program which is already very intrusive and will not even come close enough to getting up back on track… but at least it’s a step forward.

    Please Open Kauai before we melt.


  22. Be reasonable February 19, 2021 9:11 am Reply

    Voted for you Mayor Kawakami but I will not do so again. “We are in a good place” Really? Who is in a good place? People who work for the county and state, retired people, and contractors. What about the rest of us? You pulled us out of the safe travels program right as the fix to stop people from boarding flights without having test results was put into place. Couldn’t give it a couple more weeks to see how the fix would work? It worked just fine on the neighbor islands. Our little business was just coming back in November and early December. Now we have lost our entire life savings trying to keep it open and pay our small number of employees. We are now going to lose everything thanks to the call you made. Re-joining the safe travels program at the end of May, maybe later? Our business will be closed for good by then. Do you know what this has done to our family? The behavior problems that started because of our stress and depression and long hours at work trying to keep things going? How about our employees who aren’t going to be able to collect partial unemployment anymore because benefits have run out and we can’t give them more hours? Like a lot of other small business owners, we kept quiet for a long time about our pain because we were trying to get through this together. But the tone-deaf attitude from your office is too much. Evicting houseless families from Salt Ponds at the end of March when there are no prospects for more jobs until sometime after May when you think you might finally let us back in the safe travels program? Where are they supposed to go, and how are they supposed to pay for it? We’re lucky to have a roof over our heads for now – I can’t believe how uncaring your office is being to both the small business owners and the most vulnerable among us who don’t even have a proper roof over their heads. I really hope you pull a strong challenger in the next election cycle, and I am bummed out about that. I really liked you and thought you had a great vision for the island.


  23. Lana February 19, 2021 1:00 pm Reply

    Dictator Derek. Shame on you destroying your peoples lives. We can barely afford our bills. Plenty Ohana and friends selling their homes to rich mainlanders at record prices and moving Las Vegas. They will never be able for afford to live on Kauai again. This move you pull will change the fabric of our island forever. You facts not true. 100% occupancy in hotels that only allow 25% of rooms for rent is 25% occupancy. No need for lie. When this COVID ends, some old school retired locals will respect and thank you, but those of us with young families, hard workin kanaka, we will take years to recover. You need open soon. I voted for you but now ashamed to live same place you and Monica. Come on…you work for us. Open so we can have pride and work…no more handouts.


  24. Peter February 19, 2021 7:22 pm Reply

    Open up to tourism again in the spring? So about another $30,000 lost for me. How much have you lost due to the restrictions Mr. Kawakami ? A penny ? Not even.


    1. Paul February 22, 2021 5:42 pm Reply

      Bootstraps, Peter. Pull them up.


  25. Aloha808 February 20, 2021 12:43 pm Reply

    My grandparents worked to fumigate hotels and agricultural land from pests, and in sugar mills doing hard labor. They supported their families with the industries that were prevalent during that time. By the time they died, they knew that tourism had become the new economy, and would not expect the island to shut down to protect them. If still alive, they would not ask the island to be so restrictive to tourism and travel, for their protection. They would stay home and ask friends/family to help them as much as possible to social distance. They would be saddened that the median home price is 1 million, because out-of-state buying in a pandemic inflated prices beyond affordability. The local residents have been driven out of their own real estate market. Time to allow a balanced, safe, opening of travel to help put money back into our economy, which is supported by tourism. Each and every sector is supported by tourism, it’s the big picture that many want to overlook. EMQ was a start, but it caters only to the rich, it’s unaffordable to our own people. Our leader stated from the beginning that 0 cases was NOT the goal. Please stand by this statement and allow a more balanced opening of travel.


  26. Doug February 20, 2021 10:43 pm Reply

    Thank you Mayor for keeping us safe and our Covid rate low. What some people here don’t realize is that due to your efforts our hospital is not full and many of their friends and relatives have not died as is the case in other parts of the nation. Keep up the good work and know that the majority here on Kauai (and throughout the other islands) support you. Mahalo for your service.


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