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Kauai mayor issues mandatory curfew, limits airline travel to essential needs only

                                Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami talking to state lawmakers.
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Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami talking to state lawmakers.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami today announced he has implemented an islandwide nighttime curfew beginning Friday.

Kawakami also said airline travel to and from the island will be limited to essential needs only. “Until further notice, visitors should not be traveling to our island for recreational purposes,” he said. “Kauai is on vacation!”

The curfew will be in effect from 9 p.m. through 5 a.m. daily until further notice, according to his emergency rule.

Officials said in a news release that every individual within the Kauai County “must remain in their residence during these specified hours.”

“This decision was made with three goals in mind — one, protecting and preserving our existing resources, two, managing the spread of COVID-19 by increasing social distancing, and three, ensuring that essential services, operations, and family care can continue,” Kawakami said in the release. “After taking an assessment of what will likely be a very long journey for all of us and the amount of limited resources that we have, specifically public safety, first responder, and healthcare workers, we must take bold steps to ensure that our public safety officials, first responders, and healthcare workers have the necessary environment in which to keep us all safe.”

Exceptions to the emergency rule’s curfew include:

>> Commuting to and from work;

>> Working for an essential service provider whose shifts are within the curfew window;

>> Delivery services associated with food service establishments or stores that sell food and household supplies; and

>> Seeking medical attention.

Homeless people are asked to shelter in place and avoid movement during the curfew hours, officials said.

The vacation industry is being urged to refrain from marketing Kauai as a place to visit during this time to protect the health and safety of the community.

“We understand that these measures will result in hardships for many of our business owners and residents,” said Kawakami. “But the longer it takes us to make these drastic decisions, the longer it will take us to get to a point of economic recovery.

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