While the mayors of Maui and Kauai discussed a “bubble” policy to reduce quarantine requirements, Hawaii County will for now pursue other options.
On Thursday, Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami and Maui Mayor Mike Victorino discussed with Gov. David Ige a preliminary concept that would allow out-of-state travelers to move freely within a resort or hotel during their 14-day quarantines, instead of being confined to their rooms.
However, Mayor Harry Kim said Friday that the plan is too early to endorse.
“In the presentation by (Kawakami and Victorino) Thursday, the plan was, by their own admittance, only at a conceptual level of planning,” Kim told the Tribune-Herald on Friday. Instead, Kim said he and other county agencies are working on a different plan to eventually reopen the island, but declined to share any details.
In the meantime, however, a new series of restrictions went into effect Friday on the Big Island, including a reduction in the number of people allowed to gather. Groups of people indoors and outdoors, with the exceptions of families, are limited to no more than 10 people.
“It’s not about finding the right number of people who can be in groups,” Kim said. “But the most common factor of transmissions is through social gatherings.”
Kim said he is extremely concerned about the public health of the Big Island, particularly Hilo.
Over the last two weeks, he said, Hilo has been the epicenter of new positive COVID-19 cases on the island. Kim said the additional restrictions are necessary to curb the growing number of cases before the spread becomes uncontrollable.
On the other hand, Kim praised the University of Hawaii in Hilo, which will widely reduce the number of people on campus and do largely online classes for the fall semester.
Kim had previously requested that UH allow out-of-state students to study remotely without traveling to the island.
Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.