Mixed feelings on Tier 3

  • Stephanie Shinno / The Garden Island file

    Olympic Cafe owner Troy Trujillo opens up a meeting with why it’s important for business owners to meet at this crucial time during the pandemic.

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island file

    Jim Guerber

  • Contributed

    Mayor Derek Kawakami

  • Contributed

    Governor David Ige

KAPA‘A — Governor David Ige Thursday approved Kaua‘i Mayor Derek Kawakami’s updated Business &Recreation Guidelines tier chart, and the county’s move to a newly-modified Tier 3.

And restaurant owners on Kaua‘i expressed mixed feelings about the move.

The more-cautious tier was activated after the island’s average case count remained elevated for the past two weeks. It reduces the indoor gathering limit to five while allowing groups of 25 outdoors.

The modified rules for Tier 3 allow team sports to continue with COVID-safe protocols in place. This is the first time Kaua‘i has moved tiers since the guidelines were approved in October 2020.

In a Thursday release, Kawakami thanked Ige for supporting Kaua‘i’s COVID response.

“If we continue to work together, make safe choices and get vaccinated, we look forward to moving back to Tier 4 as soon as possible,” Kawakami said.

Troy Trujillo, who owns Olympic Cafe restaurant in Kapa‘a, said he doesn’t see the point in taking extra precautions, because he’s watched other restaurant owners dealing with the repercussions of the virus in their establishments.

One of those friends is Rob Silverman, owner of Rob’s Good Times Grill in Lihu‘e, which was one of two restaurants identified in a cluster of cases on Kaua‘i that sprang up between April 16 and April 29.

Trujillo said Rob “did everything right” and still had to close down due to a positive case of COVID-19.

“I’m not saying let everyone get sick. I’m saying, what’s the point (of moving to a different tier)?” Trujillo asked.

Trujillo said moving to Tier 3 will be inconvenient for his business and his customers, pointing out that it’s difficult to run a busy restaurant and continue to inform customers of continuously-changing rules.

“It’s hard to explain to somebody ‘you can’t sit there because the government says so’ while you’re busy,” Trujillo said. “People don’t get it. I go on vacation. I’m not gonna wait four hours for a table. The whole thing is just stupid.”

Jim Guerber at the Kaua‘i Beer Company said his company completely understands the necessity to move to the revised Tier 3 rules.

“The health and safety of everyone on Kaua‘i is something we have always cared about, especially during this stressful time,” Guerber said. “We can easily adjust to seating no more than five people together.

“Frankly, the larger groups have tended to be visitors, and they have been very cooperative with us. We have just reopened additional outdoor seating, which is perfectly timed with the implementation of Tier 3 guidelines. Throughout this past year, our staff has been very safety-conscious, and that will continue.”

A spokesperson from Passion Bakery said they pretty much operate at Tier 3 level now. So it won’t affect them as long as they don’t close down completely.

Each county has its own tier guidelines, and this announcement applies only to Kaua‘i.

County of Kaua‘i also announced changes to inter-island travel procedures on Thursday as well, changes that will go into effect on Tuesday, May 11. Starting on that date, Hawai‘i residents who have been fully vaccinated in Hawai‘i will be able to travel interisland and be exempt from the travel quarantine without needing a pre-travel test.

Those traveling inter-island after May 11 may upload a photo of their vaccine card or VAMS verification onto their Safe Travels profile for proof of vaccination.

Pre-travel tests will still be required for those who have not been vaccinated in the state, or those traveling trans-Pacific, to exempt from travel quarantine.

Thursday, Kawakami directed the public to the county’s free COVID-19 testing program, saying: “We recognize that even if you have been vaccinated, there is a small risk of infection,” and encouraging people to take advantage of testing.

Thursday, the county announced 62,000 vaccinations have been administered on Kaua‘i.


Stephanie Shinno, education and business reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or sshinno@thegardenisland.com.

  1. RGLadder37 May 7, 2021 12:22 am Reply

    High football? What if you get sick? The vaccines only last 6 months. What happens next if you follow through on whatever they have planned on treating OOVID-19.

    What do you do then as a family medical plan?

    1. Kauai ReZ May 7, 2021 12:28 pm Reply

      Who told you that they only last six months?? Check your “facts” before posting things. This one is not accurate.

  2. RGLadder37 May 7, 2021 12:24 am Reply

    High school football in May. Does this sound okay?

  3. Local May 7, 2021 2:06 am Reply

    Why limit the exception to quarantine and testing to just those with vaccines received in Hawaii with a Hawaii Vaccine Card? Most states have the exact same state vaccine card program, why exclude those records from the program? There is nothing about the Hawaii vaccine card that makes it any more secure and protected from fraud than any other state’s vaccine card. All this special case does is discourage those people who bring much needed money to the state.

    1. C'mon Business owners! May 7, 2021 9:30 am Reply

      As business owners past and present can attest to, its a gamble opening a business, especially here in Hawaii. I think the government ( aided by state taxpayers) has given many businesses much needed breaks, BUT, asking them to expose their families, friends and loved ones to what has turned out to be a deadly virus, is a bridge too far! Many business owners seem to feel they have been singled out! Folks, play by the rules that may keep us ALL the safest! Blame whom you like, however the people who believe that vaccines do not work, and anti-vaxxers alike prolong your “hurt” much more than governments or taxpayers.

      1. Reality Bites May 10, 2021 1:25 am Reply

        No more deadlier than the flu and pneumonia………………..

  4. mina May 7, 2021 6:55 am Reply

    Memorize the faces you’r seeing in that bar photo. Don’t forget them. These are the people who are willing to make you terminally sick or even get you and your family members killed for money. That’s what it comes down to. They don’t care about you, the community, or even themselves. All they care about is the almighty dollar.

    1. Jeezzusss May 7, 2021 2:57 pm Reply

      What you’re suggesting others to do is highly discriminatory and so out of touch. Shame on you. This deadly virus is so deadly to those who catch it most don’t even know they have it. Gaslighting these folks and others is irresponsible and immature.

  5. dawg2000 May 7, 2021 7:34 am Reply

    Everyone who wants to get vaccinated has had a month to do so, and the most vulnerable several months. Time to lift all restrictions and move on. Wasn’t the goal of all theses restrictions to get us safely to the point where vaccines are widely available? Mission accomplished!

    1. Dr Jim May 7, 2021 10:33 am Reply

      Not everyone that wants to get vaccinated has been. None of our Keiki are. So while what you say is soon to be true for adults, it ignores a vulnerable population of children. That should make some personal inconvenience worth it.

      1. dawg2000 May 7, 2021 1:15 pm Reply

        I don’t think there is any evidence at all to support the statement that keiki are vulnerable. In fact child mortality has gone down over the past year.

      2. Dr in education or medicine? May 7, 2021 2:59 pm Reply

        Either way if you have any sort of education “dr. Jim” you would not dare to recommend vaccine therapy to a child without any evidence of long term effects. Also you would know that thankfully kids have little to no issue with this virus.

  6. Joshua Beadle May 7, 2021 7:46 am Reply

    “It’s hard to explain to somebody ‘you can’t sit there because the government says so’ while you’re busy,” Trujillo said. “People don’t get it. I go on vacation. I’m not gonna wait four hours for a table. The whole thing is just stupid.”

    Willfull negligence pretending to be some form of anti-government statement. You know what’s harder to explain Trujillo? Why our local residents are getting sick for the benefit of a few businesses who have a total dependency on a tourist economy.

    Perhaps reimagine Kauai’s economy to something that doesn’t need junk business like Cruise Boats, Ziplines, Helicopter rides and crappy food. Perhaps imagine an Eco Destination where we attract new Residents, instead of mindless vacationers who could care less about the history, culture or future of Kauai.

    1. Khsgrad May 7, 2021 5:40 pm Reply

      Well I can’t WAIT to sell my homes On Kauai- bring on a new rich resident who will contribute to your eco-utopian dream! Say goodbye to 2 affordable rentals; so tired of the ridiculous rhetoric of the cradle to grave libbies that live there!!! I will take my money and run far far away……

      1. Tired May 9, 2021 4:56 pm Reply


  7. RG DeSoto May 7, 2021 8:35 am Reply

    Roll over citizen and accept the jackboot on your neck. What a disgraceful sham over a virus that is no more lethal than past flu epidemics…except for the compromised elderly who are 80+% of the SARS CoV-2 deaths. Protection should be targeted to the elderly and metabolically compromised. That’s it.
    We are ruled by fools…so much for freedom.
    RG DeSoto

  8. truthbeknown May 7, 2021 8:51 am Reply

    What part of you can still get COVID and transmit it to other people even though you’ve been vaccinated does our mayor not understand? This will be further complicated because the vaccine supposedly lessons the outward symptoms of a carrier, making it more difficult to spot them. If they’re not being tested, they can slip right through and immediately begin to infect others. This new plan may not end well.

  9. LTEreader May 7, 2021 9:07 am Reply

    Trujillo said Rob “did everything right” and still had to close down due to a positive case of COVID-19.

    He didn’t ‘have’ to close down Rob’s Good Time Grill. He closed down briefly because he felt it was the responsible thing to do. Big difference.

    1. Kauai ReZ May 7, 2021 12:27 pm Reply

      Exactly! AND I would much rather spend my money at Rob’s and Kauai Beer Company, especially now knowing that the owners actually care about the wellbeing of our community and not just making as much profit as possible.

      1. BornandRazedHI May 10, 2021 12:30 pm Reply

        Well the CDC guidelines have just been revised so that “breakthrough” cases of covid 19 in vaccinated individuals will only be counted if they lead to hospitalizations or death… so from now on, as far as your overlords are concerned… vaccinated people can no longer be “asymptomatic carriers”. In unvaccinated people though – every single asymptomatic case WILL BE REPORTED. This only ends when we stand up and say “enough”. Unfortunately, too many people are still drinking the kool-aid.

  10. m May 7, 2021 9:22 am Reply

    “truth be known”, thanks for that comment. I keep wondering why people don’t get this BASIC FACT! Some examples close to home . . .the “vaccinated” couple whose 10 year old son died on their family vacation to oahu . . . . The” vaccinated” persons who came home from travel to a large extended family and didn’t self isolate and triggered our biggest clusters on kauai thus far . . . . The cavalier attitude towards safety post vaccination will prove to cause issue, especially to those who think they are perfectly safe from the shot in the arm. Keep testing before coming/returning to Kauai! It’s simple and usually free. Why not continue to be cautious? We are still living in a global pandemic . . .

    1. dawg2000 May 7, 2021 10:20 am Reply

      Here is why – the vaccine is 90% effective at preventing infection. True not 100%, so you are technically correct that the vaccine does not prevent infection. It does make it very unlikely though. If that isn’t good enough, then nothing ever will be. Of those 10% who might still get it, studies have shown that they are far less likely to have symptoms, need hospitalization, or spread it to others. Its really unfortunate that the CDC undersold how effective the vaccines are, and I think that is why people continue to make comments like yours. Just look at Kauai, of the 48 active infections a few days ago, only 4 were vaccinated people. Of the 63 active infections right now, 0 are hospitalized, proving that vaccination of the kupuna has been very effective. Get yourself vaccinated, or don’t and live with the risk. Either way, we need to be done with all restrictions. There isn’t a better solution coming.

      1. m May 7, 2021 3:44 pm Reply

        Two of the vaccinated people were the vector for 40 plus cases because they didn’t isolate post travel . . . just sayin we all need to continue to be cautious. What if I’m wrong? no harm done. what if the CDC is wrong . . .?

  11. Doug May 7, 2021 9:49 am Reply

    “Trujillo said Rob “did everything right” and still had to close down due to a positive case of COVID-19.” If doing everything right is what I see in the photos, then Trujillo will soon be closing down too. No mask on him. no mask on the guys to the right who are waiting for food and not actively drinking or eating, same with the old guy behind him, how many more violations are not pictured? Remember this TV show theme song, Money Money Money Money, MONEY!

    1. BornandRazedHI May 10, 2021 12:36 pm Reply

      LOL. Let’s talk about how much money our overlords have made and enriched themselves with through insider trading, corporate bribery, and profiting off of this whole situation. How much richer have the richer gotten in the last year? But yeah, let’s demonize the business owners who have already lost significant portions of their “wealth” and have been repeatedly been told over the last year how they just “need to be patient” and “wait just a little longer”. You probably still out around spouting “14 days to slow the spread” 🙄

  12. KD May 7, 2021 9:55 am Reply

    The testing is NOT free… if you are coming/returning to Kauai it is an approved test which is far from free….it is actually quite expensive.

    1. m May 7, 2021 3:39 pm Reply

      we just came home this week. Got a test easily at walgreens for FREE, test results in 23 hours. It looked like lots of people on the plane took their approved rapid test at airport for $200.
      We are self isolating, even though vaccinated, and then will take a test before we venture into the community again. I prefer to err on the side of caution, no matter what news is trying to feed me regarding efficacy of a shot, because i respect my community. What if I’m wrong? no harm done. what if the CDC is wrong? . . .

    2. Lisa May 8, 2021 1:28 am Reply

      Doesn’t the chart show indoor restrictions for restaurants is 6? The limit of 5 is for other indoor gatherings, not restaurants? So why are restaurants limiting it to 5?


  13. Lawaibob May 7, 2021 11:15 am Reply

    Visitors should think more about why they’re vacationing during a pandemic and less about why they have to wait for a table. Anti-mask goons should move to Florida.

    1. Colin McCleod May 7, 2021 4:21 pm Reply

      Speaking of goons, Lawai, the data clearly show that masks DO NOT work against viruses. If you think I’m wrong post a link to real data, not some ignorant NYT or WAPO reporters opinion.
      Moreover, do you mean the same Florida where mandates of all stripes have long been removed where cases and deaths have plummeted despite all the hand wringing and whining of the weak (like you)? The same Florida that unlike Hawaii, has NOT had its economy trashed by the likes of Ige and Kawakami?
      Pathetic, LB
      Colin McCleod

      1. Jamie Rainbow May 8, 2021 10:24 am Reply

        Collen, why don’t you post a link that proves masks don’t work to support all your lies. Then I have a test for you, get a foot away from a mirror and speak normally for 5 minutes without a mask, see all the little flecks on the mirror. Now try it with a mask on. It is really common sense. Don’t be afraid of the mask. Be afraid of people like you.

        1. Colin McCleod May 8, 2021 4:43 pm Reply

          FYI spittle coming from the mouth is NOT the same size or thing as a virus. Viruses are typically .12 microns; the N65 mask is only capable of blocking down to .3 microns. Viruses easily pass through the N95 and all other masks…especially the cotton ones. Moreover SARS CoV-2 is an airborne illness, so spit flecks will NOT infect others. Doctors use the n95 masks to protect themselves from blood and saliva, etc. during surgery NOT from viruses. Have you ever seen how virus lab researchers and technicians protect themselves?—basically full airtight, pressurized suits.
          Here’s a link to several randomized controlled studies that concluded masks are ineffective. https://twitter.com/justin_hart/status/1367700143592464385/photo/1
          Here is a conclusion from another randomized controlled study: Effectiveness of Surgical and Cotton Masks in Blocking SARS–CoV-2: A Controlled Comparison in 4 Patients:
          “In conclusion, both surgical and cotton masks seem to be ineffective in preventing the dissemination of SARS–CoV-2 from the coughs of patients with COVID-19 to the environment and external mask surface.”
          Colin (not Collen brain-child)

    2. Tyler Bratt May 8, 2021 9:17 am Reply

      Mask goons telling others to go somewhere else. Wait a while when the next owner of Kauai buys up more land and tells YOU where you can go.

  14. Kahilirose May 8, 2021 1:36 am Reply

    Local asked why limit the exception to quarantine and testing to just those with a Hawaii Vaccine Card. “Most states have the exact same state vaccine card program, why exclude those records from the program?”

    The Hawaii vaccination card can be verified. Cards from other states can’t be, and fake cards are readily available and openly sold over the internet. Until there is a national database, or perhaps agreements with some states, only people with Hawaii cards will be able avoid pre-flight testing and possible quarantine.

  15. TomK May 8, 2021 3:03 am Reply

    Unless Kauai completely locked its borders – ZERO travel into & out of the island for locals and visitors forever – COVID -19 was going to infect Kauai, as it has the rest of the world. Period. This is not a “ visitor thing” or a “local thing”. It’s a global virus, a pandemic. If someone has been fully vaccinated and follows the rules, then they should be able to travel. It was only a matter of time before COVID came to Kauai.

  16. Rev Dr Malama May 8, 2021 10:46 am Reply

    What do “feelings” have to do with a Global Pandemic on a community level????
    Come on Karens!!! Give me a break!

    Either follow the mandates or suffer the consequences of the law.

    My feelings don’t matter when I was sick before, during and after the vaccine to anyone but myself and my doctor, who usually looks on the bright side and exclaims WELL AT LEAST YOU ARE STILL ALIVE!!!
    Unlike millions of men, women and children around the world who subcomed to an early and often painful death.

    To live in a free society based on democracy doesn’t mean you are free to do whatever you want…. no matter how privileged you are, so let’s see you using your brain not your feelings to be a model citizen!!!

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