(BIVN) – Both the State and the County of Hawaiʻi issued messages ahead of the July 4th holiday, reminding the public to celebrate responsibly, especially in the time of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a video posted to YouTube, Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim lauded the community for its efforts to suppress the spread of COVID-19 during the pandemic, and in a later news release urged residents to “keep up the good work of observing CDC guidelines of face masks, social distancing and hand hygiene over the upcoming July 4 holiday, amid an upsurge of COVID-19 cases on the U.S. Mainland.”
With most tradition events cancelled, like the public fireworks shows on the island, the public is also being reminded to refrain from customary large gatherings during the Independence Day weekend.
“Hawai‘i remains in a very good place with the lowest case count per capita in the nation, thanks to you following these preventive measures,” Mayor Kim said. “Let’s continue to keep Hawai‘i safe by following these measures, and we’ll get through this together as a community.”
The State of Hawaiʻi COVID-19 Joint Information Center issued this statement on the 4th of July holiday:
With the 4th of July holiday weekend quickly approaching, DOH wants to remind everyone to wear masks and to continue practicing physical distancing. One reported cluster the DOH is monitoring involved people that had gathered and shared food at a potluck. This serves as a reminder that COVID-19 is still in our communities and everyone should follow proper guidelines to reduce the risk of catching the virus and spreading it to others. State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park said, “During this long 4th of July holiday weekend, many people will be celebrating with family and friends. As we do so, we all need to remember to keep protecting our community by maintaining safe practices. We should wear our masks and stay six feet from others outside our household or those we don’t normally see and interact with every day. Hawai‘i has kept COVID-19 case numbers manageable thanks to all of us diligently following infection prevention measures – and please keep up those efforts even during times of celebration.” Other things to keep in mind include washing your hands properly and staying home if you’re sick.
The State is also urging residents to “Avoid the 3 Cs: Closed, Crowded, and Close-Contact”. The Department of Health released infographics promoting the idea.
The County also announced the closure of Waipiʻo Valley Road for public access, saying:
In anticipation of large crowd gatherings combined with the lack of resources to enforce COVID safe physical distancing practices, the County of Hawai‘i Department of Public Works announces that public access to Waipi‘o Valley will be closed from 7:00 a.m. Friday, July 3, through Monday, July 6.
Special duty officers and Waipi‘o Valley Rangers will be on site at the top of the road leading into the valley, to ensure that valley access is restricted to local traffic only (residents, land owners, and farmers). Local traffic will be allowed to pass through a single-vehicle at a time.
Aside from all the statements of social distancing, the Hawaiʻi Police Department issued as message of celebrating responsibly, reminding the public that “this holiday happens to be one of the deadliest holidays of the year across America due to Impaired Driving crashes.” Police wrote:
Even with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting us on the Big Island, the Hawai’i Police Department has been conducting impaired driving enforcement projects, patrols and have arrested many drivers. During this Holiday weekend officers will be out patrolling our communities making sure people are driving safe and not intoxicated. If you are drinking alcohol or using any intoxicating substance, don’t drive. It is not safe. Make arrangements ahead of time for a ride or a place to stay. If you need a ride call a friend, a family member, a taxi or ride share program. Just don’t drive impaired. Don’t make a bad decision that will have a negative impact on your life. Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.