Oahu Issues New Lockdown Order
Oahu issued a new stay-at-home order that went into effect Thursday and requires businesses except those deemed essential to close.
The order is for a two-week period and could be extended. The Honolulu mayor had wanted a two-week order while state health officials lobbied for a 28-day lockdown, according to the Honolulu Star Advertiser.
Residents are required to stay at home except for essential activities and most businesses must close.
The new lockdown order comes as Oahu has seen an increase in cases, and the state now has an 11% positivity rate. Because the positivity rate rose above 10%, the federal government is funding two weeks of surge testing on the island. That has led to long lines at testing sites with some waiting as long as four hours, the newspaper said.
The Honolulu mayor said that if the island continues to see 250 or so new cases a day the lockdown order would be extended.
Hawaii, a key market for the surf industry, is going through a difficult time economically due to the pandemic and because tourism has nearly completely evaporated.
We reached out to HIC Owner Leigh Tonai this morning to get his reaction to the new closure mandates.
“The governor, mayor and health officials have been warning us for the past couple of weeks that this may happen if we could not get the virus under control in the County of Honolulu,” Leigh said. “Although any shutdown forces us to close, this one was more tolerable and easier to prepare for. First of all, business has been on a steady decline ever since the number of cases started to increase. When the federal unemployment assistance ended, business really starting to drop off. By getting the virus under control again, I think people will feel more comfortable going out and shopping again. Secondly, we already did this once so we know what we need to do to close as well as reopen. Finally, we have a clearer picture of what needs to happen before we can open. Once cases go down to double digits, the mayor said we can open back up again.”
“The only way for Hawaii’s economy to rebound is for tourism to start up again. This will only happen if Hawaii becomes the safest place to visit during the pandemic. We were there at one time but we were not as diligent in tracking, tracing and testing as we should have been once cases started to increase. I am confident the residents will take the necessary steps to get the virus under control again. I hope the government learned their lesson and will help us keep it that way,” he said.
“Being the eternal optimist, the shut down will help us get the virus under control so we can rebuild the economy in a sustainable fashion,” Leigh said. “At the same time, being in business for many years has taught me to make sure we preserve our cash flow for the long run in case it doesn’t.”