Kaua‘i to move away from tier system

LIHU‘E — The County of Kaua‘i will be moving away from its six-tiered system, Mayor Derek Kawakami announced Thursday, but will continue to enforce strict COVID-19 safety measures.

“Throughout this pandemic, we have adjusted to the changing realities of COVID-19, and we continually work to keep our community safe while doing everything we can to keep our businesses and activities open,” Kawakami said during the county’s COVID-19 briefing Thursday.

A proposed change will need approval by Gov. David Ige. County officials did not clarify if a request had already been sent to Ige.

“We will continue to provide updates to the public as policy decisions are made,” Kawakami said. “Please stay tuned.”

The current tier system anticipated dropping all COVID-19 safety-mitigation measures, including limited capacity at restaurants and bars and restricted size limits on social gatherings indoors and outdoors, when the state reaches a 70% fully vaccinated population.

According to the state Department of Health, about 67% of the state’s total population is vaccinated. On Kaua‘i, that number is about 65% fully vaccinated, and 70% initiating inoculation.

Kawakami pointed to high community spread of the virus within the county linked to the delta variant.

As of Thursday, the county has recorded 777 new cases of COVID-19, the majority, 716, attributed to community spread.

“As we have seen the effects of the delta variant, and as we approach that 70% benchmark, we know that continued safety measures will be necessary to contain the spread of disease on our island,” Kawakami said.

The mayor said the county is in support of statewide orders requiring indoor masking. “Wearing our masks, keeping our distance and restricting our gathering sizes have worked in containing the spread of disease,” he said.

Kawakami said the county will “remain committed” to keeping recreational activities, local businesses and schools open with safety measures, “so long our hospitals have capacity to continue serving our community.”

Continued restrictions on social gatherings and professional events, like weddings and concerts, will likely still be in place. Earlier this month, the county instituted a new citation system to enforce emergency rules, like indoor mask-wearing and gathering sizes. For individuals, the fine is $250, and $500 for business owners or event organizers.


Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Richard Blake September 24, 2021 5:47 am Reply

    This IS something to be fearful about, and I have done all I can do to protect myself, but my vax efforts arent going to work until you do likewise. Kauai needs to take this seriously like Australia which is doing a pretty good job at spanking some sense into people. Just saying, get vaxxed will you!

    1. Kali Yuga September 24, 2021 11:44 am Reply

      Man, you’re sick. “Spanking” is a real euphemistic way to put it. They’ve been beating elders in the street and shooting at people with rubber bullets.

      If you got your vaccine then that’s the end of the story. No one else can protect you. Even if they get the vaccine, they can still spread the virus! You can still spread the virus!

      1. Yogi Kula September 24, 2021 3:20 pm Reply

        “Can” perhaps, but far less likely!

      2. Richard Blake September 25, 2021 2:00 pm Reply

        The policies exist because the majority agree with it. That is what it looks like when patience runs out. You better belive the bulk of people around here want this too, but, you don’t see them because they are staying at home working to get life back to normal. Make the right decisions and you won’t have a problem, just saying.

    2. Kiaikai Thompson September 25, 2021 7:29 am Reply

      Your comments are sickening and downright offensive. Thank Akua, Kauai and Hawaii are not following the horrendous example being set down under everyday.

      Granted we could be doing a hell of a lot better!

    3. Insane September 25, 2021 8:46 am Reply

      If u want to be told when u can leave your house and what to do then maybe u should find a new country to call home. This is America and we will exercise our rights. If you are scared stay home.

  2. Menehune September 24, 2021 7:22 am Reply

    The imbeciles we “elect” and financially support with our tax dollars love to dangle carrots in front of their tax slaves and then pull them and smack us in the back of the head with a newspaper right before we get to them. We will see how this works out for them in the end. Not too well I would assume. Good luck chumps. I wouldn’t want to be in your position.

  3. Kali Yuga September 24, 2021 8:11 am Reply

    This isn’t very clear what the outcome is. Is Kawakami saying that essentially they’re doing away with the tier system because we will forever into the future need various restrictions? That’s how I’m reading it, and he provides nothing to refute that.

    1. Makani B. Howard September 24, 2021 3:30 pm Reply

      Yep, that’s how I read it, too.

    2. He needs to go September 25, 2021 8:49 am Reply

      If that’s the case then it’s time for Derek to be removed from office. People are so scared of something with a 99% survival right blow my mind. This has become a place of the fearful unfortunately.

  4. Moana September 24, 2021 11:49 am Reply

    Translation: The vaccine turns out not to be 100% effective as we previously told you, so we’re moving the goal posts.

    1. Kaina September 24, 2021 3:21 pm Reply

      Who ever said it was 100% effective?

    2. Reddirt September 25, 2021 2:17 pm Reply

      Ummmmm…… did you know that the flu vaccine is not 100% effective? It lessens the severity just as the Covid vaccine does.

  5. manongindashadow0711 September 24, 2021 12:33 pm Reply

    On Kauai, “do eateries sperate vaccinated personnel from the unvaccinated personnel?” Or, they all gather in one area keeping six feet apart. Maybe it would be more effective if we keep them apart like we do the smokers and the non smokers in eateries.
    Just a thought!

    1. Use common sense September 25, 2021 8:52 am Reply

      Please exercise common sense. If you got vaccinated and don’t trust in what you were injected with isn’t anyone’s fault but your own. Let’s quit making excuses and call it like it is. The fearful have been deceived and now they are fearful of non vaccinated people. This looks like some kind of cartoon.

  6. RGLadder37 September 24, 2021 1:51 pm Reply

    So Kaua’i is going for the tourism instead. Great. Better safe than broke. Which will be Kaua’i if you don’t get some business into the island soon. That is the idea i think.

  7. LTEreader September 25, 2021 10:52 am Reply

    Sept. 17 – 24: 184 new cases = average 26/per day.
    Sept. 10 – 17: 242 new cases = average 36/per day.
    14 day total: 426 = average 30.4/daily.

    The Tier system was already tossed out with the bath water, so why is this even news?

    And why are the vaccinated being treated like they’re immune? Thousands are allowed to come to the State daily with no pre or post testing. They mingle with residents while they shop, dine, attend activities (including big luau’s) and are back home before they figure out if they’re contagious, or sick. Then Gov. and LG et al chastise residents on the news for high ‘community spread’ numbers. The vaccinated are NOT immune, the blame should NOT be completely pushed onto the residents, and our medical professionals should NOT be stuck with the mess visitors left us!

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