(BIVN) – Governor David Ige held a news conference today on Oʻahu, where he gave a detailed presentation on State plans to reopen the Hawaiʻi economy, starting with the next phase on the timeline: the “Act with Care” phase, or Kamaʻāina Economy phase.
According to a set of slides presented by the governor’s office, the “Act With Care (Minor Disruption)” phase follows the previous “Stay At Home (Major Disruption)” order and the “Safer At Home (Moderate Disruption)” mandate. The next step following the current Act With Care step will be “Recovery (Minimal Disruption)” and finally, the “New Normal (No Disruption)”.
As Hawaiʻi enters into the next phase of reopening the economy, the governor’ slide presentation shows that nearly all businesses will be able to operate with continued physical distancing and safe practices, with the exception of large venues, bars, or clubs, which will have to remain closed.
“The state will start to gradually re-open medium-risk businesses and operations beginning in June – assuming the state’s COVID-19 activity remains manageable,” the governor’s office stated in a later news release. “The re-opening of high-risk businesses and operations will eventually follow, as long as Hawai‘i’s disease activity continues to remain manageable.”
The slide presentation also shows that, under the Act With Care order, there should still be no gatherings over 10 people, and everyone should maintain over 6 feet of physical distance. Also, high-risk populations and kūpuna are recommended to stay at home. High-risk populations are currently defined by CDC as “persons 65 years of age and older; people of all ages with underlying medical conditions (particularly not well controlled), including people with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma, people who have serious heart conditions, people who are immunocompromised, people with severe obesity, people with diabetes, people with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis, and people with liver disease; people who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility.”
The governor signed his 8th Supplementary Proclamation today, saying the move “was made possible by the flattening of the COVID-19 infection curve due to good social-distancing practices, and other measures taken by the community to help protect our most vulnerable.”
The new proclamation does not lift the mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine order for domestic or interisland flights; that has been extended through June 30. The governor also extended through June 30 the eviction moratorium that prevents evictions from residential dwellings for failure to pay rent.
“Acting with Care,” Governor Ige said, “means exactly that. With more and more businesses reopening throughout the state, it is up to all of us… to make sure we take care to keep each other safe. So when you go outside that includes physical distancing, good hygiene, and following all safe practices that are being put in place.”
The office of the governor added this information in a media release:
Phase Three is Long-Term Recovery – Phase Four is Resilience
Phase Three, known as “Long-term Recovery,” according to Governor Ige, is where Hawai‘i’s economy is renewed and rebuilt through planning and policy discussions which will incorporate transitional workforce modernization opportunities, support economic diversification initiatives, target the development of emerging industries, and advance long-term resiliency. At the recovery impact level, the governor says the focus will be on reopening highest-risk businesses and activities, while remaining cautious and adjusting safe practices as needed. He commented, “We can expect this phase to take much longer, since this is when we will be reshaping Hawai‘i’s economy.” The fourth and final phase is “Resiliency,” and Governor Ige says this is Hawai‘i’s intended outcome. “Together, we will emerge stronger and more resilient as a result of learning from and overcoming this challenge,” said Governor Ige. Under the impact level strategy, counties can chose to relax stricter local orders at their own pace in coordination with the Governor’s Office. A 14-day-long observation period, between decision points, will allow time to assess conditions before moving to the next impact level. If infections spike and threaten to overwhelm systems, the state has the ability to reinforce capacity to effectively manage a surge in cases. As a safeguard, the governor explained, “We can consider the option of moving back.”
Reopening Strategy Rooted in Science, Data, and Best Practices
Hawai‘i’s reopening strategy for businesses and operations is predicated on expert input from prominent international and national health organizations. Governor Ige said he is committed to making sound decisions based on data, science and best practices from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Johns Hopkins University Public Health Principles.
As far as the future, the office of the governor says “State health experts agree that one or more of these outcomes will occur while we learn to live safely with COVID-19”:
- One possibility is that treatments and containment methods increase survivability and decrease pressure on Hawai‘i’s hospitals and health care providers.
- The second possibility is that our population develops a natural immunity to COVID-19, referred to as “herd immunity.”
- And a third, longer-term possibility, is that a vaccine is developed, and at least 60% our population is immunized.
“We can feel confident reopening knowing that Hawaii’s health care and public health systems are ready, and continue to increase testing, contact tracing, surveillance, and quarantine capacity,” Governor Ige said.