Kauai Is No Guinea Pig as Suggested by Honolulu Mayor

Breaking: Kauai Proposes Complete Travel Shutdown

Kauai Mayor, Derek Kawakami, has just asked Governor Ige to require a 14-day quarantine for all arrivals to Kauai starting December 1. If approved, that would effectively shut down all vacation travel to the Garden Island and almost all flights. This comes as businesses have reopened including the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort only days ago.

Kawakami forwarded his proposal to temporarily pause the Garden Island’s participation in Hawaii’s Safe Travels pre-travel program. That would mean that with or without negative tests, all travelers would be required to go into mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

“We are facing alarming COVID-19 numbers on our island as well as across the nation. This is not just a tourist problem. Nearly half of our recent travel cases are Kauai residents who returned home. We know that a single, pre-travel test has not stopped the virus from reaching our island and we are saddened to report our first on-island death. We must take action to prevent the further spread of disease here.” (Derek Kawakami).

This on-again, off-again approach to allowing travel, and by what rules, however, is going to literally kill Kauai tourism, and with it the majority of employment on the island.

What will happen next?

The governor has placed himself in a very difficult situation. Early on, he allowed the mayors to make their own decisions regarding the handling of rules associated with COVID. He subsequently began taking back control. In the most recent instance, Kawakami proposed requiring arrivals to take a second test 72 hours after arrival and to be on quarantine for just the 3 days until that test. That proposal was not approved by the governor. Kauai’s mayor upped the ante further with today’s controversial proposal.

Kawakami further suggested that opting-out of Safe Travels would have the island remain on the Tier 4 level of restrictions. He said, “Opting out of the Safe Travels program would be independent of our tier system, which means we could stay in Tier 4 for a longer period of time. It makes no logical sense for us to move tiers while still allowing more travelers. We shouldn’t penalize our local people by restricting activities, such as youth sports, when that’s not the current source of infection.”

No one knows what Ige will decide, but he decidedly appears less inclined to allow island by island rules at this time. Could he just disallow this change or could he do something to change the rules again for the entire state? We simply don’t know.

Report from Kauai Health Department.

Kauai’s health officer said that “Since the launch of the single pre-travel testing program on October 15, we have confirmed 58 new cases and our first on-island death… We have not seen sustained community transmission in our county since July, so these cases are very concerning. It is clear that the Safe Travels program is not adequately protecting Kauai from an alarming rise in cases.”

Is Kauai unique or does Hawaii need a statewide approach to travel during COVID?

The mayor said he doesn’t purport “To know how to best manage the other counties or the state as a whole. But our small, rural community here on Kaua‘i needs to take a pause from an influx of travelers, and once again gain control of this virus as we had for so many months before. I will gladly repeal the rule once we achieve this goal.”

What are your thoughts?

204 thoughts on “Breaking: Kauai Proposes Complete Travel Shutdown”

  1. I have visited Kauai consistently over the last 15 years and love the island. I had planned to visit again in December under the Safe Travel program. I fully support my beloved Garden Isle on imposing the 24 day quarantine and will gladly return once things open back up. Kauai is a very special and sacred place. I respect anything that must be done to keep the island healthy.

  2. Well we live on the mainland (Texas) and hoped to visit Hawaii for a retirement trip. We respect the needs of the State of Hawaii and each island to protect residents from COVID. In return, we ask you to respect our needs that we can’t and won’t plan any travel until there is 100% certainty that we can visit for up to 2 weeks with no restrictions. We cannot accept a 14 day quarantine at a hotel or resort given that both of us have had two negative PCR tests in the past month. And requiring potential visitors to travel 100s of miles to a state approved lab to get another test doesn’t work for us. Surely, there are many labs that test properly and the approved list can be greatly expanded.

  3. “I will gladly repeal the rule once we achieve this goal.”

    And next time, Lucy will let Charlie Brown kick the football.

    1. I am completely bewildered as to why Governor Ige and Mayor Kawakami would once again close down travel to Kauai. 🤔
      I completely understand that the safety of island residents is first and foremost. But … come on! Three cases per 100,000? Currently a total of 35 on Kauai with no new deaths. I wasn’t able to find how many people, if any, are currently hospitalized in Kauai. I firmly believe at this time no one is hospitalized with Covid in Kauai. There are approximately 72,293 full time residents on Kauai. How does the Governor and the mayor justify disrupting families and businesses as well as causing permanent irreparable damage to businesses and lives of its residents? Those on the government dole such as government employees including Ige and Kawakami continue to be paid and live a comfortable life. Also, I’m sure the thought is that large companies are able to absorb losses caused by closure. But what about those businesses that decide it’s not worth the risk to attempt to reopen? For example; Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort has only been reopened for a few days, now have to close again. How likely is it they will take the chance of reopening again? What about the approximately 1000 people it employees? Will those jobs ever come back? Will the hotel itself ever come back?
      Will visitors trust Kauai enough to rebook? Taking into consideration the rug was pulled out from under visitors that already booked and now have to cancel?
      What about families on Kauai? For God’s sake it’s Christmas!! Is Ige/Kawakami intentionally trying to cause its residents to have a nervous breakdown or possible suicide? The cure can’t be worse than the virus! At this point, the cure is so overreaching that it’s no longer able to be accepted.
      Ige/Kawakami have no empathy for those they represent. How can these two sleep at night? I’ll bet they can pay their bills & buy Christmas gifts.

      1. That’s BS. I am a resident. I have lived on Kauai for over 16 years. Yeah, not allowing tourists to come here is a financial burden and not good for our economy, but it is not inconveniencing anyone in any other way than forcing them to have a little less money. No one is starving. We all have access to health care. i have no teeth. My upper row of teeth was completely removed in January of 2020. In preparation for a set of implants. I was planning on returning in March 2020 to have the implants inserted, but I was hit by a car on Valentine’s day as i was leaving the Safeway parking lot in Lihue and broke several bones in my left shoulder and foot. i am a teacher. . i have not worked a day since the accident in February. I have only received $1200 from the U.S. government. In 11 months. I am living off personal savings. I spent the last money I had on an American Airlines ticket to San Diego to have my upper row of teeth implanted (that I have already paid for), and my flight was cancelled. Why? That is a good question. Ask our mayor.

        I am a scientist. Follow the science. All of you. It is for real and the only way to eliminate this pandemic and keep Kauai SAFE and HEALTHY. Thank you……….Mahalo and Aloha.

  4. Breaking News:

    HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Gov. David Ige has approved a request by the mayor of Kauai to temporarily opt out of the state’s pre-travel testing program, a decision that will force all travelers to the Garden Isle ― including those on neighbor island flights ―to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

    The decision goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday morning.

  5. Following the evidence of the experts that the bigger problem is returning residents not visitors, I do not see how getting returning residents to quarantine 14 days if they share their home with family is going to work. Let alone not working for 2 weeks, if they are lucjky enough to have a job. You think it will be kept open if they do nto show fro 2 more weeks?

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