Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell at a press conference on Tuesday said he and the Mayors of Maui, Mike Victorino, and of Kaua’i, Derek Kawakami, are asking Gov. David Ige to join them in sending a letter to President Donald Trump to ask him to stop all but essential travel to the state. Caldwell noted that the President is the only one who can issue such an order. Caldwell said Ige is reviewing the request.
Big Island Mayor Harry Kim said in an interview with Hawaii Public Radio’s Ku’uwehi Hiraishi that he won’t sign on. He said the self-quarantine order already in place is more than enough deterrent for visitors, and that a federal travel ban could prevent Hawaii from getting back on its feet economically. He said “Once this is over to lift a total ban like that takes additional time. What we have here can be lifted as soon as all the documents show that it’s safe enough to lift the quarantine. And thatʻs the reason I told the mayor of Honolulu, ‘No, I donʻt think it’s in the best interest of our island.'”
Caldwell said no vacationers should be coming to the state. He said recently, three homeless people arrived and they had to be housed in a shelter while adhering to the 14-day travel quarantine. He said a family of four arrived without any hotel reservations and the City and County of Honolulu personnel had to help find them a hotel where they could be quarantined for 14 days. Caldwell said the burden of visitors coming is too great for our state to bear.
Caldwell said our state and our counties are unique in that we have great physical distance from the mainland and from each other. The islands of Lana’i and Moloka’i have no cases of COVID-19, and Caldwell said the hope is they can stay that way. Caldwell said that if all people just stay in place, shelter in place, that should help tamp down COVID-19 in the state. Caldwell thanked Gov. Ige for imposing a 14-day quarantine for interisland travel, which went into effect Wednesday morning, April 1, at 12:01 a.m.
Caldwell noted that most COVID-19 cases are on O’ahu, and work is required now to stop the spread.