Gov. David Ige unveiled a four-phase plan for reopening Hawaii’s economy at a news conference Monday, announcing that “medium-risk” businesses and activities — from salons to theaters to restaurants — would be allowed to operate by the beginning of June with social distancing measures in place.
Gov. David Ige said the plan was aimed at providing a road map for Hawaii to “live with COVID-19.” according to a Hawaii News Now report.
Highlights of the plan include:
A quarantine for inter-island, domestic and international travelers will continue through June.
Hawaii is currently in phase 1, with retailers and shopping malls recently allowed to reopen. The next phase slated for early June will include a much broader reopening of the economy that caters to Hawaii residents.
Under phase 2 of the state’s reopening plans, “medium-risk” businesses — including salons and barbers, restaurants and gyms — will be allowed to once again operate. Also considered medium-risk: Movie theaters, houses of worship and museums. These venues will all have to maintain social distancing guidelines.
But “high-risk” businesses, like bars and clubs, will remain closed until phase 3.
In a supplemental proclamation issued Monday, the governor has also extended his moratorium on evictions for residential properties through June 30.
The shutdown of much of Hawaii’s economy, including the tourism industry, has seen 220,000 Hawaii workers unemployed and left many businesses facing tough decisions about the future.
The governor said his plan will mean tens of thousands of people will be able to go back to work. But he also acknowledged that the number of coronavirus cases will increase.
“We do anticipate an increase in COVID-19 positives, but we continue to ask that each and everyone of you to act with care,” Ige said. “We know that this phased approach will allow us to restart the local economy and bring those who have been recently unemployed back to the employment rolls.”
Retailers and shopping malls have already reopened statewide, and a number of other businesses are now able to operate. Counties have also reopened beaches, and many parks are open for limited activities.
The state has waited longer to reopen “medium-risk” businesses — like salons — because they require close contact of 30 minutes or more employees and customers.
But with the number of new COVID-19 cases remaining low statewide, and none reported Monday, officials have said medium-risk businesses can safely reopen with mitigation measures like wearing masks.
For example, Maui County officials also announced Monday plans for how hair and nail salons can reopen May 25 with additional restrictions that include wearing face masks and conducting temperature screenings.
Government officials have been alluding to a color-coded reopening plan for weeks now. It was set to be unveiled Friday, but objections by state lawmakers that it wasn’t clear enough meant the plan was further delayed.
A panel of senators also asked for the administration’s plans on how to respond to various risk levels in March.
The recovery plan unveiled Monday is a piece of the state’s economic recovery effort that’s led by Alan Oshima, who the state has on loan from Hawaiian Electric Co.
Oshima has also been under fire recently for requests to use federal relief funds on over $9 million worth of consultant contracts. One of those consultants is Boston Consulting Group, one of the nations largest consulting firms that was involved in the proposed NextEra merger with Hawaiian Electric.
Other local consultants would also be hired under Oshima’s plan. Lawmakers removed his funding request, but Ige said the state still has plans, and the funds, to move forward with hiring consultants.
Read the reopening plan below.
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