Hanalei Pier Kauai

Breaking News: Kauai To Shut Down Effective December 2.

We didn’t really see this coming. Governor David Ige tonight approved the request from Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami, to shut the island down entirely to vacation travel. Effective next Wednesday, December 2, 14-day quarantine for all arrivals will be mandatory. That is true no matter whether arrivals have obtained a negative test result or not. The duration of the quarantine-based shutdown is not specified at this time. It will shut down virtually all vacation travel to the Garden Island and nearly all flights.

Visitors: Kauai visitors who have already purchased travel plans are left on their own to figure out how to proceed, with no indication of whether this could last for weeks, or even much longer. We hope to have more information and the criteria for reopening in an update soon.

Residents: While we don’t have numbers, it is a certainty that the majority of working Kauai residents are directly or indirectly involved with tourism. This is devastating news for many at the beginning of the holiday season. This also comes as many businesses have just reopened, including the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort only days ago. Restaurants are barely hanging on by a thread. And those frankly are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the economic impact.

The governor said, “The unprecedented surge of COVID-19 cases on the mainland and the rise in community spread on Kaua‘i are of significant concern for the Garden Isle. We must protect Kaua‘i residents and visitors and ensure that Kaua‘i’s hospitals do not become overwhelmed. Kaua‘i county currently has the fewest number of ICU beds in the state, and private providers are seeking ways to increase capacity. This moratorium aims to stabilize the situation on Kaua‘i.”

In looking at COVID statistics, we see Kauai has one of the lowest numbers of active cases in the last 14 days. Only 35 on Kauai compared to 80 on Maui, 122 on the Big Island, and 1,095 on Oahu. The state reports that there are 18 active cases as of today and there are zero hospitalizations.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami justified his request as follows, “We are facing alarming COVID-19 numbers on our island (Kauai) 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.”

This on-again, off-again approach to allowing travel, and by what rules, however, is going to literally kill Kauai tourism and will have both a short-term and much longer-term impact. If you read Beat of Hawaii’s comments, we need to say no more.

How this shutdown came to be.

As we said previously, the governor placed himself in an interesting position, when, early on, he allowed the mayors to make their own decisions regarding the handling of COVID rules. He subsequently began taking back control. In the most recent example before today’s approval, 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, however, was not approved by the governor.

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.”

Not everyone agrees with the decision to remain at Tier 4 while shutting down the majority of Kauai’s business. One suggestion of a different approach comes from Beat of Hawaii reader, Jeanne who wrote, “As a Kauai resident I think Kauai should be at Tier 3. I don’t think this is a big sacrifice, although it may be an unpopular opinion. Moving to Tier 3 will help Kauai to mitigate covid.” Tier 3 would reduce the size of gatherings on the island. It was set to be implemented perhaps as early as next week due to the rising number of cases. It has previously been proposed that the island would not attempt to opt-out of pre-travel testing until Tier 2.

What are your thoughts?

366 thoughts on “Breaking News: Kauai To Shut Down Effective December 2.”

  1. Jim, I agree 100% I’ve had lots of friends and family get it and all got over it. I want to live where you live. It is a flu that a bunch of rich guys saw a way to control us.

    1. LOREEW…
      Tell that to the hundreds of families in morning and the thousands of folks who will live with the after affects for probably all their lives – dizziness, loss of smell/taste months later, “brain fog” months later. This isn’t the flu, baby!

  2. Hi everyone.
    I had to cancel our family trip after the latest round of mayor shutdowns.
    This would have been our 14th trip to our home on Kauai. My state went another way, no shutdowns. Schools and Restaurants open. Life is normal. After a workout at the YMCA five of us went to good restaurant and talked about the covid. Three of the five had already had it, all are fine. If you listen to the news we are all dying. Not true. It’s less than the flu, we were over it in 4-10 days and back to work. Unknowns are scary but so is not working for a year. When I call over there and talk to friends the desperation in their voice is heartbreaking. I pray for all on Kauai and hope you get better leadership. Corona is not a death sentence it’s just another strain of flu. We are entering herd immunity at home and we still have all our small business intact. The death rate in our state is less than last year. Having lived with it for a year it is starting to feel like a War Of The worlds Con, so some billionaire can make a trillion off a new flu shot.
    Merry Christmas. I wish we were there.

    1. I missed what state you said you’re from. For many it’s just like any other flu, but for the 300,000 dead and their families it is a big deal! Mele kalikimaka!

      1. Talk to the family of the dead in the beginning … pre-existing complication or heart attack or car accident or cancer marked as Covid. Those are the ones I know of. They wanted those numbers high to scare the flock into submission. I for one do not want aborted babies injected into me. Sorry no kool aid drinking sheep over here.

    2. Jim H. I have to agree with most of what you said. We, too, had to cancel what would have been our 14th and 15th trips. We, too, have had family members contract and get over Covid-19 much as one would the flu. One cousin just returned to work 2 days ago. Many people do get very sick, but the vast majority of those have co-morbidities that make it much worse for them. That is far from the norm. One acquaintance tested positive but had absolutely no symptoms and never got ill.

      Yes, 300,000+ people have died that had Covid-19. Every person who dies now gets tested. That does not mean Covid-19 killed them.

      Cases are way up where we live, but life goes on. Schools are open, restaurants are open and gyms are open. People are traveling. We’ve taken 4 flights since September. Airports are getting busier.

      I feel sorry for the people of Kaua’i who are being ruled by a tyrant. He’s still getting paid while he’s forcing thousands to lose their jobs. Mahalo.

    3. JIM H…
      You and your friends are lucky! I’ve known at least 12 folks who have had Covid and not a single one has come out unscathed even when they’ve had mild symptoms. Months later they can’t breathe properly, have dizziness and “brain fog”. One is now having to see a cardiologist after only having had loss of smell/taste for a while. Please do not base your opinions of the virus on the fairly unique experience you and your friends have had! Your experience(s) was not the norm!

  3. The island of fear will never recover. Only the super rich and the massive numbers of homeless will live here. Let’s cut the salaries of all elected officials.

  4. Claudia, what you are failing to account for is the mental health toll this is taking on the residents who are unable to work or provide for their families. When the “cure” is worse than the “disease” then how is the Mayor caring about health more than dollars??? It will be interesting in the future to really see the mental health toll these lockdowns have had in comparison to those who unfortunately succumbed to the Virus.

    1. Don’t blame the Mayor for a shut down. Blame your fellow residents and people that are not following protocol to be safe, therefore infecting others.

      1. Wearing a mask is a major part of the “protocol”. U.s.c. 21says masks do not eliminate the risk is any disease or infection, not reduce the risk of any illness or death. Nonsurgical masks have not been fda cleared or approved. Masks have been ‘authorized” by fda for use during the vobid-19 panic declaration

      2. I’m blaming ignorance, the belief that wearing masks equals protection, when scientific studies, federal guidelines
        published admit that cloth and paper masks provide no protection. Virons pass thru like a fly through a cathedral!

  5. Kauai is being destroyed by the Mayor. There are plenty of places to house covid unit beds. Plenty of travel nurses who would love to come to the island & help if needed. There is no reason to shut down kauai travel. The people who are suffering and dieing from this are local businesses & people who work in tourism. Which is 90% of Kauai. The mayor of Kauai is killing Kauai. Not saving it.

  6. The thing is…it’s been shown that the virus spread is not caused by tourists but instead by returning residents, and also locals who keep up with the “leid-back” attitude of the islands. Stop blaming tourists.

  7. Absolutely ridiculous. CDC data confirms the infection fatality ration for Covid-19 is LESS than seasonal flu. In 2018 Hawaii had 831 people die from seasonal flu – remember the shutdown then? No, neither do I.

    The leadership in this state is AWOL.

  8. Canceled my flight for December 3rd. Can’t get any work completed on my condo if I am unable to go to any building supply company. Also, would be unable to do any Christmas shopping at the local businesses and shops. Had my Vault test ready to go but won’t use it now…hopefully it will be good for when the Mayor decides to open up the island…again… and again…and then close it again…

    1. “Canceled my flight for December 3rd.”

      Don’t know what airline your were booked on, but highly likely your flight was canceled entirely, or will be. I assume all NS flights to/from Kauai will be canceled, and people will have to transfer through HNL or OGG (until Maui also shuts back down). The people who are on island now, or make it by tomorrow night’s deadline, will not have their original NS flights back to mainland. Airlines have been kept on life support by government bailouts, and don’t want to send empty jets on 6+ hour flights just to pick people up.

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