(BIVN) – Hawaiʻi County got a preview of some of the new restrictions that may soon be in place on the Big Island, where COVID-19 cases continue to surge.
On Tuesday, August 17, Mayor Mitch Roth gave a presentation to the Hawaiʻi County Council during its meeting of the Committee on Parks & Recreation and Public Safety at the West Hawaiʻi Civic Center.
“Right now, our numbers are skyrocketing,” Roth told the council, “and you know it’s a shame because we have, as a county, been doing I think a great job. And I’m not talking about the government, I’m talking about the community on the Big Island.”
Roth encouraged the everyone to wear masks and limit gatherings, and then detailed the situation at Big Island hospitals.
“Hilo Hospital the other day they told me they had someone waiting for two days in the emergency room because they couldn’t get them into an ICU room,” Roth said. “That’s scary.”
Roth said nobody wants to see a shutdown, but “we are looking at possibly doing a little bit more enforcement. Changing our way of enforcement,” he said.
Roth said that instead of doing arrests, “we’re probably going to go to citations, and start looking at issuing a lot more citations, when people aren’t following the current rules that we have.”
There could be some restrictions for County parks on the horizon. “We’re looking at the places where people congregate and have been over congregating,” Roth said, “which could be our parks and beaches and possibly putting a pause for a couple of weeks there.”
“Most of the changes that are being made are being made at the governor’s level,” Roth said, “because that’s where the authority lies. The schools, that’s with the governor. The hospitals, medicines, that’s with the federal government.”
Mayor Roth mentioned that this year’s IRONMAN World Championship was not looking good, and a day later race organizers announced the 2021 event has been rescheduled to February 2022.