The Kaua‘i County mayor has proposed two emergency rules to Gov. David Ige requiring additional safeguards in an attempt to avoid lockdowns and an opt-out of the state’s Safe Travels program. This comes in response to Kauai’s ninth travel-related positive case in which a traveler took a pre-travel test, then received a positive result after arrival to Kaua‘i.
“A month into the state’s Safe Travels program, it is clear that a single pre-travel test is not sufficient to protect us from the spread of COVID-19. Our cases are increasing much faster than initial state projections,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “Since Oct. 15, Kaua‘i has reported 26 travel-related cases, including 14 cases from returning residents. Currently we sit at Tier 4 – the least restrictive tier – and this is where we want to remain.”
Additionally, Kaua‘i has seen a total of 12 cases in which a traveler had a negative pre-travel test result, but was later found to be positive for COVID-19.
Kawakami’s proposed rules come after Ige issued his emergency proclamation 15, which extends and clarifies the statewide mask mandate as agreed by all four counties and the state.
The two proposed rules are as follows:
•Proposed Emergency Rule #21 is similar to a previous proposal Mayor Kawakami made in September and would require participants in the Safe Travels program to take a post-travel test in addition to a pre-travel test. All incoming Safe Travel participants, including residents and visitors from the mainland and inter-island, would be required to quarantine for 72 hours. After 72 hours, participants can take a post-travel test and be released from quarantine upon a negative test result.
•Proposed Emergency Rule #22 would require all travelers to have their negative test results uploaded to the Safe Travels program prior to flying to Kauai. Should test results not be available upon arrival, a 14-day quarantine would be required.
“We know this announcement will result in a lot of frustration for travelers and those in our visitor industry, but the outbreak of COVID-19 across the nation is occurring at a faster rate than we’ve ever seen before,” Kawakami warned. “We have the unique opportunity to see the wave of disease coming, and in order to avoid a full shutdown, we must take decisive, aggressive action. Time is of the essence and we are hopeful the Governor will honor the promised 24-hour review period.”
The proposed Emergency Rules would be made available to the public once approved, and would go into effect within seven days of the Governor’s signature.
To view the Kaua‘i COVID-19 tier tracker, post-travel testing information, and general information, kauai.gov/COVID-19. For more State of Hawai‘i case tracker and Safe Travels program, visit hawaiicovid19.com.