(Source: Hawaii News Now)
Stay-at-home order for Oahu set to begin in ‘extraordinary’ push to stop spread of virus
Oahu, Maui issue stay-at-home orders in ‘extraordinary’ push to stop spread of virusBy HNN Staff| March 22, 2020 at 2:01 PM HST – Updated March 23 at 11:42 AM
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – A broad stay-at-home order will go into effect on Oahu starting Monday afternoon as part of what the city called an “extraordinary” but necessary push to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Maui and Kauai were also planning similar orders while the governor said he was working with the state Attorney General on a plan to take the order statewide.
The city’s order is aimed at ensuring only employees who deliver essential services — from health care to banking to groceries, gas and car repair — are leaving the house every day to report to work.
Caldwell, who announced the order Sunday, said the emergency mandate goes into effect at 4:30 p.m. and extends through April 30.
See what’s defined as essential:
Later Sunday, Maui Mayor Mike Victorino issued a similar order — and the governor said he was conferring with the state Attorney General’s Office to issue a statewide “stay at home” mandate.
Maui’s order starts Wednesday and also extends through April 30. (Read more about the order here.)Honolulu mayor details stay-at-home order for Oahu
“We want to see folks staying at home, only doing the things are essential,” Caldwell said.
Under the order, essential activities are broadly defined to include:
- Those required for health and safety;
- Those needed to get necessary services and supplies, including groceries;
- Outdoor activities “as permitted by law”;
- Work performed to provide essential products and services;
- and caring for a family member or pet.
Businesses considered essential, meanwhile, include those that deliver health care, food, services for the homeless, gas stations, banks, hardware stores, maintenance workers, delivery services and more.
Caldwell said that the number of businesses considered essential could be amended in the future. He added that the order is based on those issued in other cities and states on the mainland.
The mayor stressed that residents can continue to shop for groceries and city buses will still run.
Places of worship are not exempt from the order, but hotel workers are considered essential. Work on construction projects, including rail, can continue.
And while you won’t be able to run in a city park, you can do so on a sidewalk.
In other words, he said, the order isn’t meant to “shut down everything.”
“We’re just looking for people to stay at home if it’s not necessary for them to travel about,” Caldwell said.
At the news conference Sunday, he called the order a “hammer action” — a strong push to bring down the number of people potentially exposed to the coronavirus.
Read the full proclamation below:
He noted that Oahu has seen the highest number of coronavirus cases — 41 of the 56 so far statewide.
“A week ago, we had three. We now have many, many more cases,” he said. “We’re taking this action to buy time. It will make a tremendous difference.”
He warned that a lack of action could lead to a dire future in which Oahu was overwhelmed hospitals — with limited resources — were scrambling to help thousands of sick patients.
A group of Hawaii medical professionals made the same argument over the weekend as they called on government to take aggressive action to prevent widespread transmission of the virus.
In an open letter to the community, the group said without any intervention, Hawaii could see more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus by the end of the month. They also said hospitals are already feeling the strain of the pandemic and are short of necessary supplies, including personal protective gear.
Caldwell’s stay-at-home order is in addition to other mandates the city has already issued, including the shuttering of dine-in options at Oahu eateries and the closure of city parks and large venues.
Other counties have also taken similar measures.
The announcement also comes a day after the governor instituted a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors and returning residents — an order that goes into effect Thursday.
Together, the mandates are aimed at bringing tourism — the state’s no. 1 economic driver — to a standstill and keeping the vast majority of the population at home until the risk of an exponential rise in cases subsides.
Caldwell noted that if public schools resume as scheduled on April, the order would not apply to students.
Violators of the stay-at-home order, meanwhile, will largely face warnings. But “flagrant” violators could face citations, he said.
“We moved beyond the mitigation level today to the fighting level,” he said.
“I want to ask everyone in the City and County of Honolulu — almost a million strong — to work together and to care for each other and appeal to the very best angels we have in our heart as we go forward.”
This story will be updated.
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