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Senate President Ron Kouchi, Hawaii County lawmakers call for shelter-in-place orders

Senate President Ron Kouchi urged Gov. David Ige today to order all Hawaii residents to shelter in place for two weeks, while the Hawaii island delegation to the state Legislature made a plea to Mayor Harry Kim to order all County of Hawaii residents to shelter in place for the next 15 days.

Kouchi also said the state should also immediately impose a 14-day quarantine on all incoming airline passengers, and ban non-resident cruise ship passengers for the next 30 to 60 days.

“With confirmed cases of COVID-19 rising rapidly and evidence of community spread, Governor Ige must take immediate and drastic action to slow infections before our hospitals become overwhelmed,” Kouchi said in a written statement. “This moment is critically urgent and we cannot wait any longer. We see what is happening in other states that took too long to react. Now is the time for Hawaii to slow this incurable disease from devastating our community.”

A separate letter signed by four state senators and the seven state House members who represent Hawaii island made similar request to Kim, urging him to shut down all non-essential government operations, and require quarantine of all travelers arriving from outside Hawaii at the Hilo and Kona International Airports for a minimum of 15 days.

The lawmakers also want Kim to coordinate with Hawaii Emergency Management Agency Director Kenneth Hara to “take all necessary steps” to ensure that the supply chain is secure for basic necessities such as food, medicine, water, communications, gasoline, and cargo.

“As Mayor, you are the only person who has the direct authority to institute these actions,” said the letter. “The entire Hawaii island delegation is speaking with one collective voice, and we implore you to take immediate action for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the County of Hawaii.”

Kauai has imposed a nighttime curfew, while Honolulu and Maui ordered that bars be closed and restaurants covert to take-out operations only, but Kim has left it up to the owners of Hawaii island bars and restaurants to decide if they want to close or curtail their operations.

“If restaurants, bars, and places of worship decide to remain open, do address how you will minimize the risk to your customers,” Kim wrote in the Civil Defense message on Tuesday. “This is of assurance of the cleanliness of the facility and of social distancing.”

So far, Hawaii island has identified only a single case of coronavirus on the island, while Oahu has identified 28; Maui has 5; and Kauai has 3.

The letter was signed by Sens. Kai Kahele, Russell Ruderman, Dru Kanuha and Lorraine Inouye; and by Reps. Chris Todd, Richard Onishi, Mark Nakashima, Joy San Buenaventura, Richard Creagan, Nicole Lowen and David Tarnas.

Hawaii island delegation letter to Mayor Kim by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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