Hawaii Updates: Case Count Up 1 To 626; Retail Reopenings Delayed On Oahu, Maui; Kauai Ends Curfew

May 6, 2020

Updated: 5/6/2020, 11:56 a.m.

Where Hawaii stands

Hawaii has one additional coronavirus case, the state health department reported today. The death toll stands at 17. 

Hawaii has seen single-digit increases in daily cases for over the past two weeks, continuing a "flattening of the curve" that is spurring the reopening of the state. 

Oahu's case count is now at 405, Maui County at 116, Hawaii County at 74, and Kauai at 21. Ten were diagnosed out of state.

Oahu, Maui Delay Reopenings of Retailers, Malls

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell will get his wish to have Oahu retailers open later than Gov. David Ige's latest order would have allowed. Instead of reopening as early as tomorrow, the Oahu businesses will have to wait until May 15. Maui County will also keep retailers and shopping malls closed for now, along with most repair shops.

Those changes were reflected in Ige's seventh emergency proclamation released last night. The governor had announced earlier in the day that his order would let certain non-essential businesses to reopen beginning at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow with social distancing and other safety requirements in place.

The businessess include:

• Agricultural (non-food) operations, such as landscape, ornamental plant growers and nurseries.
• Auto dealerships.
• Car washes.
• Childcare services, licensed or authorized under the law.
• Pet grooming services.
• Observatories and support facilities.
• Retail and repair services, such as apparel, florists, watch and surfboard repair. (Note: retail does not reopen in the City and County of Honolulu until May 15, and retail and most repair shops will not reopen in Maui County for the time being.)
• Shopping malls, limited to retail and repair services (Note: shopping malls are not reopening in Maui County for now.)

Yesterday, Caldwell said he wanted to delay the reopening of retail businesses to give them more time to prepare. Earlier this week, he had submitted the city’s plan to the state on lifting restrictions on retailers by May 15.

The mayor said he hopes the state will adopt some of the city’s guidelines to keep the public safe when more retail businesses reopen.

"One is on occupancy – 50% of usual load occupancy for different retail establishments. The second one is adhering to all the physical distancing requirements to protect both employees and customers. And the last one is within shopping malls – both enclosed and open.

"[We] want to make sure that the public is protected when they go into these malls. So all food courts remain closed, except for takeout, all playrooms remain closed, all entertainment areas remain closed, all common areas – the mall itself only to used for access into businesses or for leaving businesses."

Caldwell said if all goes well, restaurants may again be able to offer dine-in service later this month.

But Ige said the state is still working out the timing and guidelines to reopen restaurants, personal services like hair salons and religious services. "We anticipate making further announcements in the weeks to come," he said.

While the governor is encourgaging people to patronize the reopened businesses, he said they should then return home. While waiting to enter a reopened business and while inside the business, customers must wear cloth masks. They can only shop alone or in family groups, Ige said.

Once shopping malls reopen, Ige said they will need to enforce social distancing requirements and can call on police and other law enforcement agencies for help.

Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: More Retailers, Malls Can Open Thursday; Visitor Count Jumps; Cases Up 4

The reopened businesses will need to follow guidelines recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including:

• Placing limits on how many people are allowed in the business at any one time.
• Ensuring a six-foot separation between people using floor markings and signs.
• Limiting in-person work when possible.
• Reducing the number of high-touch surfaces and objects as much as possible.
• Reconfiguring workplaces for social distancing, if possible.
• Communicating health and safety procedures to employees, customers and visitors.

Some specific businesses have other requirements spelled out in the governor's order. Car dealerships, for example, can only conduct business in-person by appointment. Test drives should only last fewer than 10 minutes and cars should be disinfected before and after each use by an employee or customer.

The governor said if a second wave of the coronavirus occurs, the state may reimpose some of the restrictions it has lifted.

--HPR's Casey Harlow and Sandee Oshiro

Kauai ends curfew that mayor says helped reduce emergencies

Kauai is allowing its overnight curfew to expire today. Kauai was the only county to impose a long-term curfew, which was in place from 9 p.m to 5 a.m. beginning March 20 -- even before the state stay-at-home order took effect.

Honolulu and Maui experimented with curfews, but did not extend them beyond a few days.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said the curfew helped the county conserve its emergency resources during the coronavirus pandemic. He said calls for medical services visits fell by 41 percent during the days when the curfew was in place compared to the same period last year. 

Also, traffic collisions fell 57 percent between January to February and March to April and driving under the influence cases declined by 64 percent. Admissions to the Wilcox Hospital emergency department dropped by 38 percent in March compared to the same month last year, and fell by 52 percent in April versus April 2019.

Kauai has kept its COVID-19 cases down to just 21 positive infections. Kawakami said after consulting with his emergency management team, the county is comfortable lifting the curfew. 

He reminded residents that the state stay-at-home order remains in effect and people should only leave their homes for essential needs.

Food distribution at Aloha Stadium today, Leeward Community College on Friday

The city, Hawaii Food Bank, Bank of Hawaii Foundation and Hawai‘i Community Foundation will be distributing food today from 10 a.m. at the Honolulu Stadium to those who are unemployed.

Cars cannot line up before 7 a.m. Vehicles must enter through Gate 3 on Kahuapāʻani Street across from Stadium Mall. No other gates will be open. Those picking up food should empty their trunk, back seat, hatchback or tailgate. They must bring ID and remain in their vehicles. Volunteers will bring the food to them. More information and a map is available on the Hawaii Food Bank website.

On Friday, food will be distributed at the Leeward Community College. Information will be posted later on the food bank website.

Visitor count up over 200 again

Tourists continue to arrive in the islands, undeterred by a mandatory 14-day quarantine that officials are finding difficult to uniformly enforce.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said on Monday, 845 passengers arrived in the state, including 246 visitors. Returning residents accounted for 310 arrivals, crew members 143, intended residents 87, and transiting travelers 59.

On Sunday, a small plane that landed at Port Allen airfield on Kauai and dropped off two visitors. Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami said the two were unauthorized and did not fill out required documents.

Kauai police and the Hawaii National Guard intercepted the visitors and the case is under investigation.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest developments in dealing with the spread of the coronavirus. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.