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Kauai plans to reopen beaches, while extending passenger quarantine

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2019
                                Kauai will reopen its beaches Friday as part of a two-week pilot program that allows people to utilize the beach under certain restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Pictured is Ke’e Beach on Kauai.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / 2019

    Kauai will reopen its beaches Friday as part of a two-week pilot program that allows people to utilize the beach under certain restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Pictured is Ke’e Beach on Kauai.

Kauai will reopen its beaches Friday as part of a two-week pilot program that allows people to utilize the beach under certain restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

The following limitations apply:

· 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;

· 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; and

· All other restrictions found in the Governor’s Safer at Home order must be followed, such as quarantine restrictions

Kauai Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami also has signed an emergency rule to extend a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for incoming passengers through June.

The order specifies that those traveling for health care purposes, as long as they wear appropriate protective gear and keep social distance, are exempt from the quarantine. Those traveling to perform critical infrastructure work, as identified in the Governor’s proclamation, are allowed to break quarantine only when performing those essential functions.

“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,” Kawakami said in a statement. “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.”

Kawakami’s extended quarantine order comes as the state continues to struggle with lockdown loopholes and fears rising visitor counts could cause the spread of COVID-19.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported on Wednesday that 264 visitors came to Hawaii on Tuesday.

None of these visitors came to Kauai. Still, the count was the third-highest visitor count coming just behind Tuesday and March 26, the first day of the trans-Pacific quarantine, which was applied to interisland flights on April 1.

Altogether, 852 trans-Pacific passengers arrived Tuesday, including 321 residents. On the 13 flights that came, there also were 117 airline crew members, 46 transit passengers who are catching other flights and 88 intended new residents for Oahu and two for Maui. Some 268 visitors traveled to Oahu and 16 went to Kona.

Some 47% of the 238 visitors that responded to a questionnaire about the purpose of their trip said they came to Hawaii to visit friends and family. About 8% said they were coming for government or business and about 12% said they were coming to vacation.

About 49% of the 238 visitor respondents said they planned to stay with friends and family, about 6% planned to stay in a hotel and about 11% were staying in vacation rentals.

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