Nine hours before it was to take effect, Gov. David Ige today approved Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Stay at Home/Work from Home executive order that severely locksdown businesses and activities on Oahu for the next two weeks.
In short, the order restricts individuals on the island from leaving their homes except for essential activities, and for businesses to be closed except for those providing essential services.
Caldwell, at a press conference today prior to Ige’s action, told reporters that a key reason for the delay was because of a disagreement between the city and the state Department of Health. Caldwell wanted a two-week lockdown, starting Thursday. Health Director Bruce Anderson wanted the emergency order to be in place for 28 days. In the end, the governor went with the two-week lockdown.
Caldwell voiced frustration with the situation before Ige signed off on the two-week plan.
“If we don’t have an order for people to follow, then people don’t follow the order – it remains where we are today,” Caldwell said. “I am hopeful, and I’ve been told that an order will be entered before the end of today.”
On Tuesday, the mayor and governor appeared together at a press conference and announced they had agreed to an order for Oahu.
“This is a discussion … that we had yesterday (Tuesday) and reached agreement, so to go back and discuss it a second time and delay entering the order is unnecessary,” Caldwell said.
The mayor noted that his proposal allows for the order to be extended beyond two weeks. “If the cases remain at 200, or 250, we’re not going to open up again.”
Caldwell said he’s hopeful an extension won’t be necessary “because it’s worked once before.”
Ige Communications Director Cindy McMillan, when told of the mayor’s comments, said she believed the order was to have been signed last night. “I’ll have to get back to you,” she said.
Five minutes later, McMillan called the Honolulu Star-Advertiser back to say that according to Chief of Staff Linda Chu Takeyama, Ige signed the order “about half an hour ago.”
U.S. Surgeon General Vice Admiral Jerome Adams joined Caldwell during a visit to Leeward Community College, one of the sites conducting coronavirus surge testing.
Following an announcement Tuesday about free testing, lines of cars stretched at LCC and Kaneohe District Park, the other Oahu facility where testing was to take place today.
The Kaneohe site was closed down for a while after tests ran out but reopened as short time later, Caldwell Communications Director Alexander Zannes said.
One woman who had an appointment at the Kaneohe site said she and her family were turned away by a Honolulu Police Department officer who said the tests had run out.
Originally scheduled to close at 2 p.m., hours at both sites were extended until 4 p.m.
Watch the briefing via the video above, or go to Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Facebook page.