Hawaiian officials announced this week that they would be tightening up restrictions among inter-island travelers forcing them to quarantine for 14-days in response to a surge of new coronavirus hospitalizations. The Island of Oahu specifically is being hit the worst as it’s experienced 200 new cases and two deaths this past week according to Governor David Ige.
“There is no question that the virus is surging. This is the last thing we wanted to do but as we reopen our community people let their guard down, it’s been very disappointing.”
Hawaii is among many other states in America that have had to reinstate lockdown procedures after citizens were acting irresponsibly as businesses began to reopen. Ige announced the two week inter-island travel quarantine rule will go into effect on August 11th to contain the spread. The Director of Hawaii’s Department of Health, Bruce Anderson, recently spoke with the media and claimed that 117 Covid patients are currently hospitalized in Hawaii; 115 of those patients are located on Oahu.
He also stated that more than 50% of the ICU beds in Hawaii are currently occupied, leading many healthcare professionals to believe that they’ll be overwhelmed by the end of the month if this trend of new cases continues like it is in many other parts of America as well. Anderson claims that 10% of all individuals living in Hawaii who test positive for Covid-19 end up needing to be hospitalized.
“We are approaching a healthcare crisis and bold measures are needed now. New cases are linked to community spread on all parts of the Island, across all socioeconomic groups and communities.”
Mayor of Honolulu Kirk Caldwell also announced this week that all beaches and parks in Oahu will be closed as a part of the lockdown measures being reinstated. Caldwell mainly blames the surge of new cases on large uncontrolled gatherings that authorities aren’t cracking down on hard enough.
While beaches and parks will be closed people will still be able to walk on the beach and get into the water for things like surfing, fishing, diving, etc., as long as it’s distanced from anyone else in the water. Parking lots that are being used to house drop off boxes for voting will also remain open.
All group sports and gym classes are indefinitely banned but fitness centers in general will be allowed to remain open as long as they keep enforcing the proper health and safety procedures. Indoor attractions like bowling alleys, mini golf, or arcades will be closed down and mask requirements will remain for all restaurants.
One of the biggest issues in America has been bars that are “posing as restaurants” so that they can reopen. Caldwell claims Hawaii police will be cracking down on these establishments specifically, they’ve even created a new Covid Enforcement Team that is specifically designed to respond to complaints against people/businesses actively ignoring these guidelines.
160 new officers will be working seven days a week to ensure this new branch of law enforcement is running smoothly and able to educate citizens on proper procedures. The police chief spoke with the media and claimed to show that they’re serious, they likely will no longer be giving out warnings and instead will just begin to write out citations or even arrest individuals depending on how severely they’re ignoring these restrictions.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.