Mayaor Derek S.K. Kawakami has proposed a new emergency rule that provides a four-tiered system to define allowable businesses and activities, based on the current COVID-19 outlook on Kaua‘i at that time.
The mayor submitted the proposed Mayor’s Emergency Rule 19 to Gov. David Ige’s office on Thursday for approval. The tier system proposed is similar to the one already approved for O‘ahu. Kawakami said the system includes safeguards to mitigate the spread of the virus in the event of an increase in cases on Kaua‘i.
“Many have requested my response to the Governor’s offer for counties to ‘opt out’ of the state’s pre-travel testing program,” Kawakami said. “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.”
If approved, this rule allows Kaua‘i to move forward with the state’s pre-travel testing program on Oct. 15. Further, it identifies the point at which Kaua‘i would opt out of the state’s pre-travel test plan and continue the 14-day mandatory quarantine for incoming arrivals.
Each tier is identified below:
·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 Kaua‘i 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 Kaua‘i: 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.
“In all tiers, we must continue to wear masks, practice physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings,” Kawakami explained. “We know these to be the most effective way for us to protect ourselves and those around us from spreading COVID-19.”
Kawakami’s proposal to conduct post-arrival testing was rejected by the governor’s office earlier this week. As a result, the mayor has continued to work with local health officials and other partners to take a phased, responsible approach to reopening the island’s economy while keeping the community safe. The county continues to work with private industry partners to help promote a voluntary post-arrival testing program.
“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,” Kawakami said. “We look forward to learning more about this program.”
Upon approval by the Governor, Mayor’s Emergency Rule 19 will be posted to the County of Kaua‘i’s COVID-19 website at www.kauai.gov/COVID-19. For more information on the state’s pre-travel test program, visit hawaiicovid19.com.