Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Hawai‘i to Begin Reopening Some Businesses

April 29, 2020, 2:46 PM HST
* Updated April 29, 3:12 PM
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Gov. David Ige

It’s been 10 days since Hawai‘i reported more than six new cases of COVID-19 in a single day.

Because of statewide success to manage the spread of the virus, Gov. David Ige said Wednesday that several portions of the economy will begin to reopen on all islands over the next few days.

“We are looking to ease restrictions and will start to reopen our local economy,” Ige said. “However, this will be done in a phased approach.

After discussions with county mayors, the decision to allow real estate companies, car and truck dealerships, automated service providers, mobile service providers, one-on-one service providers, and all public and private golf courses will soon be able to begin regular operations.

The governor said these businesses were chosen for the first phase of reopening, while others weren’t, based on three criteria. The first is the intensity of the contact between customers and employees, or customers and customers, at a given business.

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“The more intense the face-to-face contact, the higher the probability that the virus can be spread,” Ige said.

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Second is the number of people who would make contact with one another during normal operations of a given business. Movie theaters or concert halls, for instance, provide a greater risk of a massive spreading event.

The third component is what measures can be taken to change the way businesses operate to reduce risk.

A second wave of coronavirus cases is expected in Hawai‘i, which could change facts in the coming weeks and months.

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“If we start to see a surge, some of the mandates may have to be reinstated,” Ige said.

The governor added that society will not return to how it operated pre-pandemic until a vaccine is developed or treatment is developed and shown to lessen the severity of coronavirus cases.

County governments will provide more specific details on the economic reopening over the next few days.

Lieutenant Governor Josh Green stressed that wearing masks and social distancing are still requirements. Both the statewide shelter-in-place order and the 14-day traveler quarantine order remain in effect through the end of May.

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