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Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim issues strict rules in response to coronavirus

                                Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim issued new rules, Tuesday, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim issued new rules, Tuesday, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim on Tuesday issued a new emergency rule mandating that all customers age 5 and older wear face masks or coverings before entering essential businesses or riding the bus, among other requirements.

Individuals who have health or medical conditions that prohibit the use of face masks are exempt. Otherwise, the rule stipulates that a business shall bar entry to anyone who refuses to wear a face covering.

Customers must also sanitize their hands upon entry into an essential business, which must set up hand sanitizing stations. In addition, the rule strongly recommends that only one customer be allowed per 250 square feet to ensure the six-foot distancing requirement.

Businesses must also require their employees to use gloves while handling food, and if they handle payment transactions by cash or credit card, they must sanitize or change their gloves before serving the next customer.

The emergency rule — also referred to as “Rule No. 3” — was prompted, in part, by the recent cluster of coronavirus cases found at three McDonald’s restaurants in Kona. The rule took effect immediately.

“These are stricter than the Governor’s rules, because we want to make sure that our community stays healthy and safe,” said Kim in a news release. “We want these rules to be in place, while focusing on being reasonable so that people can make a living.”

All businesses are required to assign, train and schedule employees to sanitize carts, conveyors, counters, handles, knobs and other common touch areas, according to the rule.

Employees must do a self-check prior to starting their shift to monitor for any COVID-19 symptoms. If an employee feels ill, they must immediately notify their supervisor and leave the premises, according to the rule, which also stipulates that the employee seek medical attention if symptoms persist, and not return to work until symptom-free for a minimum of 72 hours.

If an employee tests positive for the new coronavirus, they shall not return to work until staying home, symptom-free, for at least 14 days.

It also calls for businesses to discourage the hoarding of essential supplies, and requires them to post signage on special hours for high-risk populations.

Hawaii County’s COVID-19 Prevention and Education Task Force will be working with businesses to ensure compliance from their employees and customers.

Riders of Hawaii County’s mass transit buses ages 5 and above must also wear face coverings and masks to prevent the spread of the virus, with exemptions for people with health or medical conditions. Riders who refuse to wear a mask will not be allowed to board or enter the bus.

Violators of “Rule 3” may be subject to a fine of up to $5,000 or one year imprisonment, or both. The rule will remain in effect throughout the pandemic, or until terminated sooner by Mayor Kim.

For further information, contact Hawaii County Civil Defense at 935-0031.

Mayor Harry Kim's COVID… by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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