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The Latest: Ige Approves Kaua?i's 'Resort Bubble' Plan; Kawakami Proposes Change To Travel Rule

historic_kauai_county_building_lihue.jpg
Casey Harlow / HPR
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Historic County Buliding, Lihue, Kauai

Mayor Derek Kawakami is awaiting Governor David Ige's approval on a proposed change to Kaua?i's Rule 23. The amendment would rescind the county's moratorium on the Safe Travels program for inter-island travel.

If approved, inter-island travelers would be allowed to participate in the state's Safe Travels program, and be exempt from the 10-day travel quaratine with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken less than 72 hours before travel. The test would need to be administered by one of the state's trusted testing and travel partners.

The rule would also require a person be physically present in the state for more than 72 hours before flying to Kaua?i in order to qualify as an inter-island traveler.

The proposed amendment is set to take effect on Tuesday, January 5, the same day the county's Rule 24 would go into effect.

Govenor David Ige approved the county's Rule 24, which establishes a post-travel testing program with a shorter quaratine for travelers who wish to stay in an approved "resort bubble" property. In addition to taking a test 72 hours before arrival, visitors will have to take another test 72 hours after arriving on the island.

"We realize the Resort Bubble program is tailored to visitors and is not ideal for our resients," Kawakami said.

"Our residents continue to be our highest priority. Now that our community has been able to enjoy the holiday season without a major surge in cases, we feel we are in good position to loosen inter-island travel restrictions and offer more convenient opportunities to travel between islands."

City unveils new resource center for homeless

The River of Life Mission will be operating a new city resource center in Iwilei to provide meals to the homeless. The organization will still maintain its meal service in Chinatown.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Wednesday the River of Life Mission will be expanding its reach to provide more than 700 meals a day at the new Iwilei facility. The center, located on the corner of Iwilei Road and Sumner Street, will have a large commercial kitchen, and a dining area with more than a hundred seats.

"We're also going to have the ability to hand out and address hygiene needs. Like gently used clothing, footwear, hygiene supplies, personal grooming items," Caldwell said.

The complex will also have meeting and counseling rooms to provide additional services to the homeless, as well as 27 studio units for those with very low income.

The $17.2 million project is set to be complete by May 2021.

Where we stand

The state Department of Health reported 108 new cases and no new fatalities on Wednesday.

According to the state numbers, O?ahu had 84 cases, Maui 17, Hawai?i Island 2, Kaua?i 1, Lanai and Moloka?i had none.

The latest state counts bring the O?ahu total to 17,773, Hawai?i County 1,873, Maui 932, Kaua?i 145, Lanai 106, and Moloka?i 22. The number of out-of-state cases totals 358.

Since the pandemic began the state has tallied 21,209 cases. The death toll stands at 285.

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