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More COVID-19 rules ‘likely’

LIHU‘E — Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami, in consultation with Governor David Ige and the mayors of the other islands, is expected to refine Kaua‘i’s response to the COVID-19 during announcements that will be released, today.

The press release containing the announcement of refinements states that Kaua‘i has no evidence of community spread, and each of the counties is independently developing responses to COVID-19, but working in close collaboration with each other, with the state Department of Health officials, emergency management leadership, and the Governor’s Office.

Among the refinements for Kaua‘i, details of the Kaua‘i Stay at Home program will be released, Monday.

On rural Kaua‘i, we already have a robust response platform in place with limitations on public gatherings as well as night-time curfews. Mayor Kawakami is waiting for full authority from the governor to enact a coordinated response in order to fine tune the island’s protections, the release states.

Under the expected guidance from the state, Kaua‘i residents will be asking to stay at home and work from home to reduce the chance of catching or spreading this virus.

“We hope to keep a lid on the virus and allow time to restock critically short supplies of masks, ventilators, and other medical gear, including personal protective equipment for our first responders,” said a county spokesperson.

Some of the details of the Kaua‘i Stay at Home program include all travel will be prohibited unless for critical health and safety purposes, shopping for food or other important consumer products.

The expected order exempts those doing work that provides essential products.

First responders, health care facilities, banks, gas station, farming and fishing, hardware stores, delivery services, professional services, restaurants doing delivery and carryout services, and critical trades are among those that will keep operating.

Kaua‘i residents could engage in outdoor activities like walking, running, surfing, and other healthy outdoor activities, but are urged always maintain six-foot social distancing.

Full details of the Kaua‘i Stay at Home program will be similar to those used in San Francisco, Illinois, and elsewhere, and will be released Monday.

On Saturday afternoon, Mayor Kawakami signed Emergency Rule No. 4 which requires non-residents to obtain a day-use permit for any County of Kaua‘i beach park.

“While we support the recently-announced mandatory 14-day quarantine by Gov. Ige, visitors are still allowed to travel to Kaua‘i, and many remain on the island,” Kawakami said in a release. “Our residents and local businesses have worked hard to follow current guidelines in place for COVID-19, and are understandably frustrated when they see visitors at our parks and beaches blatantly disregarding social distancing and other enhanced health measures. This rule will help to ensure proper social distancing in our shared public spaces.”

The Emergency Rule No. 4 provides an exemption for residents in the State of Hawai‘i, and residents using county parks must carry proof of residency that include a state ID, driver’s license, or school ID.

“I am concerned that visitors at our beach parks are not exercising social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control,” Kawakami said. “This emergency rule helps work toward ensuring our community spaces can be used by our residents to engage in activities to maintain their mental health during this difficult time.”

Under terms of Emergency Rule No. 4, a park permit of $5 per person will be assessed. Each non-resident individual, regardless of age, must have a separate permit to use the beach park. There will be a limit of 100 permits per day for beach park usage islandwide to encourage social distancing.

Additionally, a parking fee of $50 per vehicle, per day, will be required to park in the park’s parking stalls.

Proof of purchase must be displayed in the windshield of each vehicle parked within a county beach park parking lot.

Enforcement of the rule will be carried out via spot checks by rangers from the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. Any non-resident without the permits can be found guilty of a misdemeanor, a fine of not more than $5,000, and/or imprisoned not more than one year.

The day-use permits can be obtained at the Dept. of Parks and Recreation website at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/county-of-kauai-day-use-beach-park-permit-fee-covid19-tickets-100651073069.

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Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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