Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki said Wednesday that the Hawaii State Capitol will remain closed to the public indefinitely.

The building has been largely off limits to the general public since March 2020, when Covid-19 first impacted the state.

Kouchi said that the intention was to reopen the building Monday, Jan. 3, “but with delta and omicron variant positive Covid-19 cases in the several thousands, the Senate is in agreement with the House of Representatives that in an abundance of caution, the Capitol should not be opened at the present time.”

Capitol with a construction barrier around the first floor.
The Capitol with a construction barrier around the ground floor. Visitors can still walk through the open-air Rotunda, but that’s about it. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2021

Saiki said, “The decision to keep the building closed was a difficult one and was made to minimize the spread of Covid-19 among members, staff, visitors, and other building occupants.”

Saiki said the building’s status “will be reevaluated in the coming weeks.”

The Legislature convenes on Jan. 19 and is scheduled to adjourn on May 5. Lawmakers, staff and the governor and lieutenant governor’s office continue to work in the Capitol while observing Covid protocols.

Senate and House floor sessions and hearings will be held remotely, as has been the case for almost two years now.

Quality journalism takes time.

A story that takes fives minutes to read often takes days to report.
 
Quality journalism takes time and resources to produce, but with support from readers like you, Civil Beat can investigate issues and publish stories that are otherwise difficult to fund.
 
Become a donor and help support Civil Beat’s next investigation.

About the Author