Kauai News

Kaua‘i County Moves Forward with Potential Development of Resort Bubbles

By Tiffany DeMasters

Posted August 20, 2020, 4:26 PM HST

Kaua‘i and Maui Counties are making efforts to create resort bubbles as the state maintains the 14-day self-quarantine due to COVID-19.

Gov. David Ige today signed a 12th supplementary emergency proclamation that empowers the counties to establish an Enhanced Movement Quarantine (EMQ) through agreements with resort or hotel facilities. Those travelers participating would be required to stay in clearly defined geographical areas and ensure limited contact with those not subject to self-quarantine.

“This would allow them to quarantine while also enjoying resort amenities,” Ige said during Thursday’s press conference.

Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami was present at the press conference through Zoom. He said Kaua‘i County has been working on an alternative to help bring visitors safely back to the island while protecting the community and getting people back to work.

“We’re still in the research and development phase,” Kawakami said, adding the technology they’ve been looking at shows promise.

Kawakami is currently looking at a wristband that acts as a tracker. If the traveler took it off or went outside the boundaries, the hotel would be notified. The mayor said the resorts would have to opt into this program and provide the security, education and technology needed to create the bubble.

“We’re trying to create systems to mitigate as much risk as possible,” Kawkamai said.

Kawakami explained that resorts would need to have the ability to isolate guests who do become sick and quarantine close contacts.

While Kaua‘i County continues to have the lowest number of COVID-19 cases statewide, Kawakami remains on guard.

“The nature of this virus is that it’s sneaky and patient,” he said.

With only 14 ventilators and nine ICU hospital beds islandwide, the mayor said, residents walk on eggshells every day because of the limited health care services.

“The ability to keep the community healthy and safe is paramount,” he said.

During the press conference, Ige announced the inter-island 14-day quarantine remains in place till Sept. 30. The launch of the pre-travel testing program for trans-pacific travelers has again been pushed back to Oct. 1.

“This is a challenging time for our community and health and safety comes first,” Ige said. “But we are looking at ways to safely bring visitors back, to open our economy up to a larger capacity.”

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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