Coronavirus Updates

Mayor in Talks With County Partners Regarding Resort Bubbles, GeofencingWi

By Tiffany DeMasters

Posted August 5, 2020, 3:59 PM HST

Mayor Derek Kawakami

With no new COVID-19 cases and only two active in Kaua‘i County, Mayor Derek Kawakami is looking at resort bubbles and geofencing.

A 14-day quarantine has been in place since March for out-of-state visitors. Knowing that travel will resume at some point, Kawakami explained during Wednesday’s COVID-19 daily briefing that he has been in talks with interested resort partners regarding this technology, which would allow visitors to quarantine at full-service resorts. The resorts have activities, programs and policies in place to provide a full vacation with protections in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Kawakami said some of the technology for the resort bubble or geofencing the county is looking at is a disposable wrist device, like a watch, that pairs with a cellphone. This would allow a team to monitor visitors’ activities while in the resort bubble.

“This is still a working progress, but we are working with many stakeholders to make such an idea come to life in a way that helps to get some of our people back to work while helping keep our island safe,” Kawakami said.

Mick Minicola, general manager of Kaua‘i Beach Resort, said he hasn’t been in talks with the county about resort bubbles or geofencing, but he’s open to the discussion.

“They’ve really been excellent on maintaining safety and how we can improve economy at the same time,” Minicola said of the mayor and county partners.

Minicola said he understands the rationale for the technology, but more discussion needs to be had regarding visitors coming who test positive while in quarantine at the resort.

While the county continues to be on a streak of no new cases, Kawakami said, the coronavirus cases statewide are spiking, with 173 cases reported on O‘ahu on Wednesday. The statewide total now sits at 2,763. Kaua‘i County’s cumulative total remains at 47.

“We encourage people to refrain from leisurely travel for the time being,” the mayor said.

With the surge in cases and hospitalizations, Minicola said people are concerned Ige will be forced to reinstitute restrictions like a 14-day quarantine for interisland travel.

 

Tiffany DeMasters
Tiffany DeMasters is a reporter for Kauai Now. Tiffany worked as the cops and courts reporter for West Hawaii Today from 2017 to 2019. She also contributed stories to Ke Ola Magazine and Honolulu Civil Beat. Tiffany is an award-winning journalist, receiving recognition from the Utah-Idaho-Spokane Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists. Tiffany grew up on the Big Island and is passionate about telling the community’s stories.
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