Derek Kawakami, the mayor of Kauai County, on Wednesday ordered the mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers to the island extended through the month of June.

According to the mayor’s latest emergency rules, those traveling for health care purposes — “as long as they wear appropriate protective gear and keep social distance” — are exempt from the quarantine.

And those traveling to perform critical infrastructure work, as identified in Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation, are still subject to the quarantine “but are allowed to break quarantine only to perform those essential work functions.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami during joint WAM FInance Meeting 2020.
Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami has implemented major restrictions on travel and transportation in the county because of the coronavirus. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2020

Kawakami said, “We have taken temporary control over the coronavirus with our aggressive restrictions, and we feel we can begin to ease them in a responsible manner.”

The mayor added, “That said, the risk of the virus returning is most clearly associated with incoming travelers, whether residents or visitors, so we feel it is necessary to extend the mandatory quarantine.”

Kauai is also reopening its beaches on Friday but under certain restrictions. For example:

  • all groups should be part of the same household, and should not exceed 10 people;
  • any and all persons on the beach who are not part of the same household shall comply with social distancing requirements, with the exception of caregivers escorting a dependent; and
  • beaches or sand area may only be used a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset, unless a person is engaged in shoreline fishing or permitted outdoor exercise.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak in March, Kauai County has implemented the most restrictive measures in the state. It included a 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly curfew that went into effect March 20.

“Kauai is on vacation,” Kawakami said at the time.

The curfew, which allowed for some exceptions like commuting to and from work and for medical purposes, was repealed May 6.

Kauai, which has the smallest population of the state’s four counties, has also seen the fewest number of COVID-19 cases and no deaths.

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