This was submitted by Gregory today and is 100% on-point with what we have all witnessed from the County.
On October 2nd, 2020 Mayor Kawakami released his tier system. Many on Kauai were worried that it was simply too strict and would lead to an early exit of the safe travels program.
The most restrictive step, Tier 1, would go into effect when there’s a one-week average of eight or more cases per day registered on the island. This would lead to an exit of the safe travels program and bring back mandatory quarantine.
After seven months of being closed local businesses began to see revenue and guests booking for the holiday season. Closed restaurants reopened, purchased perishable goods, and brought back staff. The Hyatt our largest private employer reopened. We were on the road to overall wellness again.
From October 15th to November 24th the island saw 58 cases. Well below the one-week average of eight cases per day that would lead to an exit of safe travels.
The Mayor went completely against the strict tier system he and his team created and decided to close the island almost immediately. Residents had three business days to get tests and get home. Businesses saw revenue that would have saved them evaporate.
We followed the plan, we socially distanced and wore masks but none of it mattered. Mayor Kawakami decided that he knew what was best for the island’s residents.
He and his team did not trust Josh Green and the numbers being reported. They believed the rest of Hawaii would see a huge outbreak and have to close again.
They believed the Lt. Governor was cooking the books and reporting numbers that were skewed. They were wrong, Oahu welcomed back tourists and saw a consistent decline in hospitalizations. Cases there are low and getting lower while people are getting back to work.
Meanwhile on Kauai businesses are closing for the second time after realizing that the ‘resort bubble’ program has brought no meaningful business back to Kauai. Honolulu’s incoming passenger numbers are roughly 55-60% of where they were last year at this time, Kauai is around 8%. Meanwhile, the Mayor is quoted as saying “Our goal is always to base our schedule on the level of acceptable risk”. He gives no tangibles or science-based numbers to plan our reopening.
How can Kauai businesses and residents plan their road to recovery when they cannot trust our Mayor and his team? We went against his strict Covid-19 tier system after less than two months.
He has given no clear plan on Kauai’s return to the safe travels plan. He and his team do not openly discuss with residents on the platforms it posts on.
Open and honest communication needs to start now and the people of Kauai need to demand it.