Kauai Mayor Makes Second Proposal to Reopen Travel for His Island

No response yet from Governor Ige

Kauai Mayor Makes Second Proposal to Reopen Travel for His Island

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami continues to fight for his island on how best to get travel up and running. Mayor Kawakami had proposed a post-arrival test program, but this was shot down by Governor Ige.

Since then, the Kauai Mayor has proposed Rule 19 to the Governor. Mayor Kawakami sent proposed Mayor’s Emergency Rule 19 to Governor Ige on October 8 which would create a tier system similar to the one already approved for Oahu. Proposed Rule 19 includes safeguards to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in the event of an increase in cases on Kauai.

If approved, this rule allows Kauai to move forward with the state’s pre-travel testing program on October 15. Further, it identifies the point at which Kauai would opt out of the state’s pre-travel test plan and continue the 14-day mandatory quarantine for incoming arrivals.

“Many have requested my response to the Governor’s offer for counties to ‘opt out’ of the state’s pre-travel testing program,” said Mayor Kawakami. “It has never been our intention to opt out of the state’s program, but rather to supplement the program in a way that meets our county’s unique needs. We maintain that a pre- and post-arrival testing program is the safest option for our residents and visitors, and we will continue to work with the state to achieve that goal.

“In light of Kauai’s post-arrival testing program (Rule 18) being denied by the Governor earlier this week, we have continued to work with our health officials and other partners to take a phased, responsible approach to reopening our economy while keeping our island safe.” 

The 4 tiers of Rule 19

Mayor Kawakami’s proposed Emergency Rule 19 provides a four-tiered system to define allowable businesses and activities, based on the current disease outlook on Kauai at that time. 

• Tier 1 is the most restrictive tier. It goes into effect if there is a one-week average of eight or more daily COVID-19 cases. No pre-testing quarantine exemptions will be allowed.

• Tier 2 assumes that the seven-day average of daily COVID-19 cases is between five to eight cases. Moving into this tier would automatically trigger Kauai to opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program and continue a 14-day mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers.

• Tier 3 assumes a weekly average of two to four daily COVID-19 cases. At this level, transpacific travelers will be able to pre-test out of quarantine, per the state’s travel plan. Restrictions such as further limiting the size of gatherings and receptions would be put in place.

• Tier 4 is the least restrictive and is the current level on Kauai: an average of less than two daily active cases. It allows nearly all businesses and activities to operate with minimal restrictions. It utilizes the state’s 72-hour pre-arrival test program to allow transpacific travelers a quarantine exemption. 

“By opting in to the state’s pre-travel test plan, the county is also opting in to Lt. Gov. Green’s recently-announced surveillance program, which will offer an additional layer of testing here on island,” said Mayor Kawakami. “We look forward to learning more about this program.

“Kauai continues to work with our private industry partners to help promote a voluntary post-arrival testing program here on Kauai. We will announce more on that campaign in the coming days.

“In all tiers, we must continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings. We know these to be the most effective way for us to protect ourselves and those around us from spreading COVID-19. 

“We understand that October 15 is quickly approaching, and we will announce more details on the status of proposed Mayor’s Emergency Rule 19 as updates become available.”

Still waiting for approval or response

When contacted by hawaiinews.online about this proposed rule, Mayor Kawakami’s office responded with the following additional informational statement:

As you know, the Governor’s new pre-travel test program for Mainland travelers goes into effect Thursday, October 15. In light of our post-arrival test proposal being denied, we submitted proposed Rule 19 last week Thursday.

While we still maintain that our proposal for a mandatory second post-arrival test is the safest option for us, Rule 19 would combine a voluntary testing program with a tiered system for responding to outbreaks. We continue to await the Governor’s approval of our proposed Rule 19 and will update the public as we’re updated. 

We have enjoyed many months of low to no case numbers, and it is inevitable that we will see a rise in cases in the coming weeks and months. Our Incident Management Team will do everything possible to help protect our community and keep our case numbers to a manageable level so that we can avoid future shutdowns or tighter restrictions.

But, as we’ve said many times, we all have control over managing this virus. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to protect ourselves and those around us. We can do this by following very simple steps when we leave our home. Wear your mask anytime you’re with people you don’t live with – this includes close friends and family. Keep your physical distance. Avoid large gatherings, but if you MUST gather, stay outside.

These are the best tools we have in our toolbox.

For more information on the Governor’s quarantine rules or the state’s pre-travel testing program, please visit the state’s website at hawaiicovid19.com


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