Officials tout more enforcement, not new restrictions

LIHU‘E — The next step in tackling surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations will be increased enforcement and not tighter restrictions, Gov. David Ige and Mayor Derek Kawakami came together to say Friday at a press conference with fellow neighbor island mayors and law enforcement.

Ige said that the state’s approach to managing the current surge in COVID-19 cases would be “coordinated independent action” from individual counties.

As part of this effort, Kawakami issued a new emergency rule establishing fines of $250 for individuals and $500 for businesses and organizers for noncompliance with state COVID safety rules.

Kaua‘i Police Department officers, county Department of Liquor Control investigators and county Department of Parks &Recreation rangers all have the authority to enforce this rule.

This includes write-ups for improper mask usage, social gathering in groups larger than 10 indoors and 25 outdoors, and breaking restaurant and bar capacities.

Ige acknowledged that hospitals are strained, but rejected calls for tighter statewide mandates.

“The current spike in COVID-19 has put tremendous stress on our hospitals,” Ige said. “Certainly we’ve talked about further restrictions. The stay-at-home order would require closing all non-essential businesses all across the state. There is significant concern about the economic impact that a stay-at-home order would have.”

Kawakami is also resistant to implement new restrictions.

“We don’t have any additional restrictions because at this point in time we cannot fool ourselves to say that COVID-19 is going to go away,” Kawakami said. “We’re all going to have to learn how to do our part to coexist.”

Relying on individual responsibility and action and not tighter government mandates was emphasized.

“If we all work together today, and we’re wearing masks, get our vaccinations, stay safe at home, keep our bubbles tight, we can stop the transmission of the disease,” Dr. Jill Hoggard Green of the Queen’s Health Systems said. “If we do not, at some point, I think it’s within the next month, we will hit a point that we’re unable to meet the patients’ needs.”

  1. KauaiFarmMan September 5, 2021 7:14 am Reply

    Vaccine and masks don’t stop the spread of Covid. The last 8 months have proven that.

  2. Kauai Freedom September 5, 2021 8:29 am Reply

    I commend Derek for not abusing power even further and not adding more restrictions, I’m glad he has recognized the reality of the situation, Like Derek he said, Covid is not going away, it’s on every continent, in every country, trying to “prevent the spread” is impossible at this point, they need to stop with the mandates and restrictions and leave it up to the individual, as well as, the most important thing, outlining a treatment plan for people as soon as they get covid, instead of staying home and waiting until their dying to go to the hospital, they should be examined and begin treatment immediately on a severity level basis, immediate treatment would stop all of these cases from getting out of hand and prevent a lot of hospitalizations and deaths

  3. More lies from the top September 5, 2021 8:34 am Reply

    Dishonest scum. They act like the only option is a total shutdown, when in fact, testing requirements for all interisland and vaccinated (on the traveler’s dime) would go a LONG way towards reducing these out of control numbers. Please vote Kawakami out in the next election.

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