State sets new restrictions on gatherings

LIHU‘E — In July, the state’s average seven-day COVID-19 infection count was in the 60s. This August, it’s in the 500s.

Tuesday, Gov. David Ige announced new statewide restrictions that limit social gatherings and put a 50% capacity on restaurants, bars, gyms and places of worship. The state will also enforce a limit on professional events.

Effective immediately, the state has reverted to a 10-person limit on social gatherings indoors and 25 people outdoors. This overrides current county rules that allowed 25 to gather indoors in a social setting, and 75 outdoors.

“I think the governor spelled it out pretty clear as to what the plan of attack is to intervene and slow the spread,” Mayor Derek Kawakami said during Tuesday’s press conference with Ige and neighbor island leaders.

With this uptick in cases on island, Kawakami said that residents have been seeking more help.

“Most people know what to do here on Kaua‘i. We have seen an uptick in people getting tested, so those are all a great indicator that people on their own know what to do,” Kawakami said. “Once again, we’re going to navigate through these challenging times.”

The county will defer to the statewide order on restaurants, bars and other social establishment gatherings, but its current tier system for other activities.

“For events/activities included in the governor’s new order, his rule supersedes the county’s tier chart (social gatherings, gyms, restaurants),” a county spokesperson said. “For events/activities not covered in the governor’s order, the tier chart stands.”

In social establishments, like restaurants and bars, patrons must remain seated with their party, have at least 6 feet of distance between groups, will not be allowed to mingle, and are required to wear a mask unless actively eating or drinking, according to the new order.

For “professionally organized” events like conventions, weddings and concerts, the state will require organizers to reach out to the county for guidelines to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“You will have to let us know about your event and we’ll have a set of guidelines for you folks to follow,” Kawakami said.

Kawakami said that a Kaua‘i Emergency Management Agency representative will be able to answer questions.

“What we’ve been seeing from organized events are very-well-run events that have been safe, so most people already know what to do,” Kawakami said.

Ige said the bulk of hospitalized cases have been in those who are unvaccinated. Earlier Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green said that 235 of the 246 COVID patients in hospitals are unvaccinated.

Green also reported that 50% of COVID hospitalizations are in those under 50 years old.

The state, however, will not be making any changes in travel restrictions.

“We are evaluating the Safe Travels program but we know that the number of cases from visitors is relatively low at 1% to 2%,” Ige said.

Travel-related cases are about 15 % to 20% in residents.

“The delta variant has truly changed the COVID-19 pandemic here in the islands. We have seen increased transmission, and we must take action in order so our health system is not overwhelmed,” Ige said.

These rules are just an addition to last week’s emergency order that stated that county and state employees have until Aug. 16 to provide proof of vaccination or face weekly COVID-19 tests at their own cost.

“The state and county workers are very much a part of this operation to flatten the curve as well,” Kawakami said. “That is why for Kaua‘i County it has been explained to our associates there are two big waves you can contribute on your end. One is to either decide to get vaccinated if you haven’t, or (two) undergo regular testing.”

Kawakami refuted the claim that this rule is a “mandate.”

“You do have a choice. It’s not a mandate,” Kawakami said. “You have to do your part.”

  1. Kauai August 11, 2021 5:52 am Reply

    We do not live in a dictatorship, we live in a free country, but it’s starting to like not one, he cannot legally do this to people, it has been over a year that we’ve had to “flatten the curve” and people with the vaccine are still getting sick, you cannot control people’s lives like this, people should be allowed to govern themselves, I’m not paying taxes for someone to tell me how to live my life, and Kawakami saying it’s “not a mandate, you have a choice” oh thank you for giving us a choice, and it’s not a choice when you are making it difficult on one side, this is disgusting, how can people be supporting this much control the government is placing on its citizens?

    1. Lawaibob August 11, 2021 1:02 pm Reply

      Trump lost. Get over it.

    2. truthbeknown August 11, 2021 3:42 pm Reply

      It’s called coercion, plain and simple, and quite illegal as the requirement concerns an experimental “vaccine” (that is a misnomer as it is an mRNA spike protein injection) that has not yet been approved by the FDA. This flies in the face of the Nuremberg Accords and should be challenged in court as crimes against humanity. Enough is enough. Lock downs don’t work and masks are not effective (depends on which flip-flop the CDC has issued lately). The emphasis should be to protect the elderly. The rest of us will have to live with this virus, achieve natural immunity, and get on with our lives. We will not be able to contain this virus any more than we have contained the common cold or the flu. To think we can is being totally naive. To ruin our way of life in pursuit of that fantasy is the height of stupidity.

  2. Northshore August 11, 2021 6:25 am Reply

    This isn’t right, Government positions are in held to uphold the constitution not to dictate laws infringing on our rights, I’m all for health and safety, but this has gone too far and for to long, how long will they be allowed to dictate how/who we spend our time with. So, you can eat and drink in a restaurant but if you are walking about you have to wear a mask? How does this logic make any sense? Can the virus not transfer if you are eating and drinking, this has to end

  3. nobody August 11, 2021 6:54 am Reply

    Reinstate mandatory testing to enter the State, vaccinated or not. This was working.

  4. Sam August 11, 2021 7:42 am Reply

    So you don’t want us protesting? You don’t want us getting together to talk about these most important issues? The surge is in the vaccinated too!

  5. Jjjames August 11, 2021 9:23 am Reply

    To say: “In July, the state’s average seven-day COVID-19 infection count was in the 60s. This August, it’s in the 500s” is like saying: “a tank of gas used to last me a whole week, now it only lasts 3 days”. Without knowing how many miles you drove, THE DATA MEANS NOTHING!
    GEEZE! Where’d you people go to school !!!!!!
    We’re NOT ALL IDIOTS!!!
    If you’re trying to justify anything, then give ALL THE FACTS.

    1. Kali Yuga August 11, 2021 2:13 pm Reply

      Yes, there is a lot of data lacking here. That’s been a problem this entire time. Further, they continue to state that nearly all of the hospitalized cases are in the unvaccinated – however we don’t know truly why those people are the hospital. They could be in the hospital for unrelated reasons and then were tested for covid. They also could have been coerced to be in the hospital – “If you aren’t vaccinated you need to go to the hospital.” It’s very easy for them to create the numbers that they want, if they want to say how bad the “anti-vaxxers” are.

  6. Juliu August 11, 2021 9:55 am Reply

    It’s the very people blaming tourists who are refusing to get vaccinated, this directly impacts your neighbors, friends and family ability to experience an economic comeback 😔

  7. Westside Gal August 11, 2021 10:28 am Reply

    These restrictions really saddens me. I have no pun against government and have tried to live up to my upbringing of love and aloha. However these decisions prevent us from going forward. In 2019 March every decision set us backward and it hurt a lot of people. Unemployment rose, people commited suicide, isolation was forced upon us, not being able to see loved ones that were hospitalized or near death, being paid off with stimulus’s. Rich people buy people’s acceptance with money. Places of worship were shut down. Why because till this very day NO ONE knows where this virus is coming from. And government, TV, radio all reacted out of fear, scaring people to break values of sanity and questionable ethics. We target tourist yet government allowed them back in, we target locals that traveled, we target restaurants, we target places of worship. We worship a vaccine while BIG Pharma rakes in big time dollars and how do we know that the vaccines that are thrust in our arms aren’t the virus itself. Fauci has beady eyes and even in the Bible it says, “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” Matthew 7:15. Its Science vs God. Please people stand together and please don’t let our world go to Hell. Amen.

  8. Kali Yuga August 11, 2021 2:11 pm Reply

    > “You will have to let us know about your event and we’ll have a set of guidelines for you folks to follow,” Kawakami said.

    Needing to involve the government for private events like this is very worrying. It’s historically been the indicators of coming oppression. It’s starts here and can continue step by step to full on authoritarianism – see all the examples from history in countries like Russia, South America and so on.

    This is really worrying!

  9. Joke Biden August 11, 2021 5:18 pm Reply

    Line up line up for your 3rd booster because the first two didn’t work and it’s less than 50% effective anyway. I’m starting to believe that the vaccines ARE the Delta variant.

  10. George Ho August 11, 2021 7:03 pm Reply

    Misleading dems. The fake news team with the CDC are still misleading the public. If one person gets two tests and both those tests are positive – that’s 2 positive people counted. Their science doesn’t work nor does the fake administration know how to do math.

  11. fs August 11, 2021 7:11 pm Reply

    Why doesn’t anyone think anything of the 11 (who knows if numbers are correctly presented) FULLY VACCINATED who are in the hospital??
    The only focus is on un un un unvaccinated. Part of their sought after “herd immunity “ are the ones with natural immunity.
    It’s mind boggling they have begun the “flatten the curve” rhetoric again.
    Fear fear abd more fear.
    The government has people driving alone in a car wearing a mask, walking a dog outside at night wearing a mask, sitting alone at a bus stop outside wearing a mask. What “science “ is behind that nonsense??

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