Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami said that beaches will reopen Friday, May 15. This will be a two-week pilot program under Mayor’s Emergency Rule 8, which was approved by Governor David Ige. Rule 8 allows people to utilize the beach under certain restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Mayor Kawakami also signed Emergency Rule 9, which will extend the mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers through the month of June. Those traveling for health care purposes, as long as they wear appropriate protective gear and keep social distance, are exempt from the quarantine. Those traveling to perform critical infrastructure work, as identified in the Governor’s proclamation, are still subject to the quarantine but are allowed to break quarantine only to perform those essential work functions. “We have taken temporary control over the coronavirus with our aggressive restrictions, and we feel we can begin to ease them in a responsible manner,” said Mayor Kawakami. “That said, the risk of the virus returning is most clearly associated with incoming travelers, whether residents or visitors, so we feel it is necessary to extend the mandatory quarantine.”
Emergency Rule 8 allows more casual beach use with the following limitations:
- Every group should be a part of the same household and should not exceed 10 people
- Everyone on the beach who aren’t a part of the same household will have to social distance, with the exception of caregivers escorting a dependent
- Beaches or sand area may only be used a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset unless a person is engaged in shoreline fishing or permitted outdoor exercise; and
- All other restrictions found in the governors Safer at Home order must be followed, such as quarantine restrictions
“In order for us to continue to reopen our businesses and activities while keeping each other safe, we all must exercise self-discipline to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and cleaning surfaces often,” urged Mayor Kawakami. As a reminder, all individuals in the State of Hawaii are subject to Governor Ige’s emergency proclamations and Safer at Home order. Governor Ige is in favor of Mayor Kawakami’s order, and is in favor of giving Hawaii’s county mayors authority with his approval. “I do personally support that and we continue to work with the mayors to identify the conditions they see in their counties and allow them to make adjustments as appropriate.” Governor Ige said. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has a similar plan in the works, pending approval from health experts. “We learned this afternoon about Kauai’s plan to initiate a pilot program to open beaches to people from a single-family unit, and that the Governor approved such a plan. We are interested in looking into a similar initiative on Oahu. We plan to run it by our medical panel tomorrow afternoon because making sure the health and safety of the public is taken into account is paramount. If the panel agrees this plan is safe for Oahu, we will then seek the approval of the governor to implement this plan on a pilot basis.” Mayor Caldwell said. To view the governor's proclamations and the Mayor’s emergency rules, visit the KEMA website, www.kauai.gov/COVID-19.