County asks to dissolve tier system

LIHU‘E — The County Kaua‘i moved forward this week with plans to repeal the COVID-19 tier system as local spread of the virus continued.

Emergency Rule No. 27, which was submitted to Gov. David Ige earlier this week, would do away with the six-tiered system while maintaining statewide restrictions and guidelines, Mayor Derek Kawakami announced. Ige will have to approve the new rule before it can take effect.

The decision to move away from the tier system, under which the dropping of COVID-19 restrictions had been anticipated once 70% of people had been vaccinated, has been attributed to the rise of the delta variant.

“We will continue to enforce state rules on travel, face coverings, social-gathering sizes, business-capacity limits and other statewide mandates,” Kawakami said in the Thursday COVID-19 briefing.

The news came as COVID-19 continued to spread among Kaua‘i residents this week.

According to state Department of Health Kaua‘i District Health Office Deputy District Health Officer Lauren Guest, 17 new cases were reported on Thursday, all residents. Fifteen of those were acquired from community spread, while two were related to travel.

Five of the cases reported on Thursday were children.

Community spread has accounted for the lion’s share of cases on the island recently. Eighteen new cases were reported on both Tuesday and Wednesday this week, and of those 36 cases, only five were linked to travel.

The number of active COVID-19 cases on Kaua‘i stood at 130 on Thursday, with seven hospitalized. Guest noted that the majority of those in the hospital due to COVID-19 are unvaccinated.

Guest reported 10 active clusters: three in restaurants, two in places of worship, two in educational settings, two in occupational settings and one in the travel, lodging and tourism sector.

Kawakami again urged those who have not yet done so to get vaccinated.

Vaccines are available free of charge to those age 12 and older through the county’s mobile clinic, which will be in Koloa today and Hanalei Saturday, from noon to 3 p.m. each day. A team will also be available at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center Saturday morning from 9 to 11 a.m.

Other locations where vaccines are available can be found at

Booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine are also available to those age 65 and older, individuals with underlying health conditions and those who are at high risk of occupational exposure who have already received the full Pfizer vaccine.


Kaleb Lay, general-assignment reporter, can be reached at 647-0329 or​

  1. patriot October 7, 2021 5:11 pm Reply

    The county/state/federal govt already owns 100s of thousands of acres in Kauai and can’t manage to create an affordable housing project without stealing land from citizens. Very sad times we live in under this liberal communist Kauai govt!

  2. Freedom for Kauai October 8, 2021 7:17 am Reply

    Correction: the county isn’t asking for it, the politicians are, I thought this was a democracy??
    Why are they promoting shots that don’t work? I’m tired of the rules and restrictions, they are obsolete at this point, let the people govern themselves, this is a FREE country, Ige and Kawakami are not our dictators, they keep pushing everything back and giving excuses, enough is enough

  3. Kali Yuga October 8, 2021 9:24 am Reply

    This is a long winded way of saying that there is no end in sight for restrictions. They are now indefinite.

  4. Doug October 8, 2021 10:06 am Reply

    Big whoop, it was never adhered to anyway and was never enforced (except at the very beginning when they had the roadblocks).

  5. That Lady October 8, 2021 10:46 am Reply

    What a surprise.

    Now that over 70% of Hawaii residents are vaccinated (I believe it’s over 80%), Ige goes back on his promise to lift restrictions.

    This will never be over until we say it is over.

  6. TomK October 8, 2021 3:53 pm Reply

    In Hawai 58% are fully vaccinated. The 70-80% percentage you cite is for 1 dose.

  7. RGLadder37 October 8, 2021 4:53 pm Reply

    All for the sport. This is a democracy. Politicians want this. Kawakami doesn’t know government. So he picks this. Big deal. Keep the tier system going until 2024 to be safe.

  8. Marie October 8, 2021 7:07 pm Reply

    What a joke to announce they are doing away with the tier system. They haven’t been following it anyways,

  9. RGLadder37 October 8, 2021 9:51 pm Reply

    I think everyone is anticipating a quick return to normal activities and not worry about any rules imposed when they go to the shopping center. But as this stands, they are following guidelines set by the CDC. Face mask rule reduces the risk of catching a virus considerably. Which means that this coronavirus is still very much a part of the community. It hasn’t been done away with. And to get vaccinated is the best way of preventing a disease. Even though still in its infancy stages of trial, the vaccines they have should help. When they first started out polio virus, it was world wide and spreading. Now there is hardly any cases of polio. The vaccines have done it. Sort of herd immunity. Also looking for the same effect towards the coronavirus. The vaccines must do it too. Achieving herd immunity until no disease exist. So this coronavirus is still very much real.

  10. Mamatree October 9, 2021 11:46 am Reply

    One prediction, one question, one comment: All pending quarantine/mask/gathering violation citations will be dismissed as moot so the government can save face and not have to “prove” their currently unprovable charges against folks. To challenge the “new rules,” will protesters now have to get cited/arrested/charged under (new) state law(s) and raise more money to start new litigation in order to reach that fateful day of reckoning when actual evidence is presented from both sides, testimony is taken from both sides, and someone declares our rights are in fact being violated at every turn? This game being played by our “leaders” in government will NEVER END unless everyone, vaxxed and unvaxxed, is vocal and actively defends fundamental liberty for which so many men and women – for centuries – made the ultimate sacrifice.

  11. Tired of the nonsense October 9, 2021 1:03 pm Reply

    It’s time for Kawakami to be removed from office. This nonsense has went on long enough. He was at a party with a ton of people and filmed live online not long ago but yet tries to keep restrictions going. It’s time all restrictions are gone and the crooked corrupt ways are done away. We can live scared or we can live free. If you are still scared of COVID you can stay inside with your mask on. The rest of society is moving back to normal but Hawaii is becoming the experiment of the nonsense. Let’s vote Kawakami out or have him removed for his nonsense.

  12. Kaua’i Tutu October 10, 2021 5:38 am Reply

    Is no one aware! here in our Island…… Even being “vaccinated” one can still get Covid AND still transmit it!
    That’s why we are only told numbers of those testing positive and not whether vaccinated or not!

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.