Hawai‘i Island Delegation ‘Implores’ Mayor Kim to Change Policy

March 20, 2020, 2:53 PM HST (Updated March 20, 2020, 2:53 PM)
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Photo by Josh Pacheco.

The entire state delegation from Hawai‘i Island is asking Mayor Harry Kim to swap strategies when it comes to dealing with the spread of COVID-19.

In a letter sent to the mayor’s office Friday, the collection of state senators and representatives asked the mayor to implement harsher travel restrictions, mandate all schools be closed and take measures to scale back county business to essential personnel only.

They also asked the mayor to order a 15-day shelter-in-place order for the entire county.

The following is a transcription of the letter sent to Mayor Kim:

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“To protect the residents of the County of Hawaiʻi and the long-term stability of our island economy, we implore you to immediately order the shut-down of non-essential county government operations and the sheltering-in-place of all people throughout the County of Hawai‘i.

As Mayor of the County of Hawai’i, we strongly urge you to take the following immediate actions through an Emergency Proclamation and Emergency Rule(s):

  • Institute an immediate countywide shut down for the next fifteen (15) days.
  • Order all people in the County of Hawai‘i to shelter-in-place for the next 15 days and coordinate with the Joint Incident Center under the command of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Director/Adjutant General Kenneth Hara to immediately use his authority under the March 16, 2020, Emergency Supplementary Proclamation by Governor Ige to take all necessary steps and required means to ensure that the supply chain for basic necessities — such as food, medicine, water, communications, gasoline, cargo and public safety throughout the County of Hawaiʻi — is secure.
  • Request Director/Adjutant General Hara to secure and requisition any needed hospital and medical supplies that are necessary to assist with the coming need to treat individuals due to COVID-19, at all available Hawaiʻi Island medical facilities.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, order the quarantine of all travelers arriving from outside Hawaiʻi at the Hilo and Kona International Airports for a minimum of 15 days.
  • Prohibit all non-essential inter-island and out-of-state travel from Hawaiʻi Island.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, require the immediate closure of all public and private schools, daycare centers, preschools, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hawaiʻi Community College and Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui.
  • Require the immediate closure of all County facilities and workspaces, and send home all non-essential County of Hawaiʻi personnel for the duration of the shutdown.
  • Limit County of Hawai‘i work to only essential personnel, provided they are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and adhere to spatial distancing guidelines and preventive measures as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

As Mayor, you are the only person who has the direct authority to institute these actions. As state legislators, we passed and continue to support the delegated authority provided to the counties under Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 127, which grants you, as Mayor, the power to act in emergency situations such as the unprecedented one we face today.

The entire Hawaiʻi Island delegation is speaking with one collective voice, and we implore you to take immediate action for the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the County of Hawai‘i.”

Sincerely,

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele

Representative Mark M. Nakashima

Senator Russell E. Ruderman

Representative Chris Todd

Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha

Representative Richard H.K. Onishi

Senator Lorraine R. Inouye

Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura

Representative Richard P. Creagan

Representative Nicole E. Lowen

Representative David A. Tarna

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