Honolulu Mayor Extends Stay-at-Home Order for O‘ahu Through May 31
City parks will reopen for people to exercise Saturday morning and more community testing is planned.
Photo: Aaron K. Yoshino
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell today announced that he is extending the stay-at-home order for O‘ahu through May 31 but will allow limited use of all 300 city parks for exercising beginning at 5 a.m. Saturday, April 25.
Caldwell emphasizes that people will be allowed to park their cars, run, jog, walk and ride bikes in the city parks but won’t be able to use gyms or play sports that include volleyball, basketball, lawn bowling, tennis, pickle ball and more. Gyms and all playground and exercise equipment will remain off-limits.
“This is the first step,” Caldwell says. Six days later—on Friday, May 1—he says the city’s five botanical gardens will also open but people should continue to keep 6 feet away from others, wear masks and practice other safety measures.
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To help set the groundwork for easing the order, Caldwell says the city also has arranged to purchase more than 10,000 test kits for community health centers to help determine where the disease has spread. Tests will be free for people meeting certain criteria, with results expected in 48 hours. Those centers include: Waiʻanae Coast Comprehensive Health Center, Kalihi-Pālama Health Center, Kōkua Kalihi Valley, Waimānalo Health Center and Waikīkī Health Center, all of which have been hit hard by the increased challenges facing their patients during the pandemic. Janelle Ahuna of Waikīkī Health Center summed it up this way: “We likened it to changing the tires on a moving car.”
Caldwell says the $2 million for testing originally had been to replenish sand at Ala Moana Beach Park. He estimates half the money will go toward buying the $100 tests and the other half will go to the centers to administer them. The expanded testing will help determine when more restrictions can be lifted.
“We keep the curve flat, then we can continue to open things up,” Caldwell says. “We went from a tourist industry somewhere near $15 billion to zero.” If the case numbers stay down and people stay safe, Caldwell says he’d consider allowing the reopening of small retailers and car dealerships.
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Also today, the state announced that two more men, both 65 years or older with underlying health conditions, have died from the coronavirus, bringing the Hawai‘i death toll to 12 since tracking began Feb. 28. One man on O‘ahu was hospitalized in late March, improved and was sent home where he died yesterday. The other man died at Maui Memorial Medical Center, where he had been since late last year. His death is considered related to the cluster at the Maui hospital, which as of yesterday had affected 36 staff and 20 patients.
Only two new cases are reported, both on Maui, pushing the total of positive test results to 584 out of more than 25,000 tests. Of those, 437 people have been released from isolation.
Two visitors were arrested for violating the 14-day quarantine rule. A hotel manager reported the 34-year-old woman from Las Vegas and a 33-year-old man from Sydney, Australia, when the woman posted photos of her outside on Instagram. They were arrested and are now completing their quarantine in the hotel.
Read more stories by Robbie Dingeman