Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed an emergency order on Sunday requiring all Oahu residents and visitors to stay home except for essential activities.

The order aims to contain the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak and takes effect Monday at 4:30 p.m. through April 30.

“It applies to everybody whether you’re a visitor or whether you’re a resident,” the mayor said. “They should not be in Waikiki Beach, in our Kuhio Beach Park, for example.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell hopes his order to stay home will help reduce the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus. Christina Jedra/Civil Beat/2020

Exceptions are allowed for obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, obtaining needed services or supplies such as groceries, and outdoor activities in locations as allowed by law.

Essential businesses may continue operations including health care providers, grocery stores and supermarkets, businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, gas stations, bank and financial institutions, and media services. (A detailed list of businesses and services is in the mayor’s order posted at the end of this story.)

Violation of any of the order is punishable as a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $5,000 or up to a year in jail, or both.

Maui Mayor Mike Victorino issued a similar “stay at home, work at home” order at about the same time Caldwell was holding his press conference. Essential businesses and services in Maui County, including  Molokai and Lanai, are still allowed to operate but the mayor earlier closed bars and restaurants except for takeout and drive-throughs. The order takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday.

On Kauai, Mayor Derek Kawakami imposed a curfew from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and closed bars and restaurants to all but takeout and drive-through services.

On the Big island, Mayor Harry Kim has faced widespread criticism for not restricting more public activities. He has closed beach parks but that’s about it.

Caldwell’s measure was announced as Hawaii’s total cases rose to 56, of which 41 are on Oahu. The mayor commended Gov. David Ige for imposing a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all incoming arrivals while state legislative leaders renewed their call for Ige to take stronger statewide action.

“Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi and House Speaker Scott K. Saiki sent you letters on March 19 and 20, 2020, asking you to take aggressive action to contain COVID-19,” a letter issued Sunday states. “We are extremely disappointed that you and your administration continue to fail to realize the gravity of the situation Hawaii faces and have not led our state with one decisive voice.”

Lawmakers are asking Ige to require everyone to shelter in place. The governor issued a statement Monday afternoon saying he supports Caldwell’s emergency order and that statewide action is planned.

“The mayors and I have been working together on this issue, and this morning we agreed that the mayors should develop their own plans to meet the unique needs of their counties,” he said. “We also agreed that statewide action will be needed. I have directed the Attorney General to review the orders other states have issued and prepare a statewide plan that will keep the people of Hawaiʻi safe and healthy.”

Honolulu Emergency Management Director Hirokazu Toiya said the purpose of Caldwell’s order is to “buy time” to contain the spread while handling existing cases.

Caldwell said allowances will be made for leisure activities like “walking down the sidewalk” but little more.

“Sitting on the grass close to each other for a long period of time, more than 10 minutes, they’re endangering themselves,” he said. 

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