As the final Saturday of April wound to a close Governor David Ige announced a sixth supplemental emergency proclamation, extending the stateʻs COVID-19 stay-at-home order until May 31. The mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors and residents arriving in the state and for inter-island travelers has also been extended through the end of May. Social distancing requirements and the eviction moratorium, which prevents eviction of a resident for failure to pay rent, remain in effect until May 31.
The stay-at-home order requires all state residents to stay at their place of residence except for essential functions, which include work at essential businesses, shopping for groceries and medicine, exercise, food production, and more. Beaches are closed except for running, jogging, or walking on the beach; transiting through beaches to access the ocean is allowed. State trails and shore fishing are allowed, as long as groups travel with no more than two people or all group members are part of the same residence. A full list of essential and prohibited activities is available at Governor.hawaii.gov.
“This was not an easy decision. I know this has been difficult for everyone. Businesses need to reopen. People want to end this self-isolation and we want to return to normal,” said Gov. Ige in an Apr. 25 statement. “But this virus is potentially deadly, especially for the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions. Thanks to our residents, we are flattening the curve, saving lives, and avoiding a resurgence of this virus by not reopening prematurely.”
“[M]y greatest fear is that if we move to reopen too quickly, we will see a sudden surge in new cases that would result in over-running our healthcare system and more deaths,” Ige added.
Gov. Igeʻs announcement came as the state has been reporting COVID-19 testing data consistent with a “flattened curve,” meaning the spread of the disease has slowed resulting in low numbers of new cases that are distributed over time.
On Monday, April 27, the state reported just one new positive COVID-19 case – an employee at Maui Memorial Medical Center. Of 30,970 total individuals tested for the coronavirus by clinical and state laboratories, 613 have tested positive as of Apr. 29. So far, 16 people in the state have died from the virus and 516 have recovered and been released from isolation.
“I am so impressed and pleased with the way our residents have stepped up for each other to help prevent a catastrophic surge of cases in our state,” said Lieutenant Governor Josh Green on Apr. 20. “We did a great job of flattening this curve, but there is a risk of additional spikes in cases if we’re not careful. We are diligently working to ensure we reopen Hawaiʻi in a careful, thoughtful way that keeps people healthy and safe while jumpstarting our economy as much as possible.”
As the situation surrounding the pandemic evolves, Ige said he would be in “constant discussions with the counties, the Legislature, and community leadership” to develop plans for reopening. “We will be taking a phased approach to re-opening,” he said. “We hope that more measures will be relaxed before the end of May.”
The ban on public beach access is one measure thatʻs already been loosened since its implementation earlier in April. After being in effect for about a week and stirring confusion among beachgoers and county mayors, Ige rolled back the rule to allow beach exercise like running or walking.
“[M]ore coordination is necessary to avoid confusion,” Ige observed, reflecting on the messy beach ban. As part of the new supplemental emergency proclamation, the governor is requiring all counties to obtain his approval, or that of Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency director Kenneth Hara, before issuing any emergency order, rule, or proclamation.
Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has already written the governor with one request: Allow floral deliveries for Motherʻs Day.
“It is our hope that our residents will be able to call or go online to place orders for delivery for Motherʻs Day on May 10,” wrote Victorino Apr. 27. Floral deliveries can also incorporate social distancing and safety modifications, he added.
“It is especially important that we allow this service during these unprecedented and uncertain times. Continuing traditions like buying flowers for our mothers helps us convey appreciation and celebrate at a time when we cannot gather together.”
Oh come on, Mayor, save some Good Son Points for the rest of us!
Update: Gov. Ige issued a statement in the afternoon on Apr. 27 saying that florists can begin operations on May 1, “as long as they can do so in a way that is safe for employees and customers.”
Read the full text of the governorʻs supplemental emergency proclamation, including the rules, at Governor.hawaii.gov.
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