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Victorino mulling whether to follow Ige’s lead on malls

6-foot distancing, masks for staff, customers among rules considered

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is mulling over whether to follow Gov. David Ige’s lead to reopen shopping malls and retail stores and what modifications to operations and capacities to implement to continue to keep the number of COVID-19 positive cases low.

“We are given a chance to reopen, so I’m going to call upon the public to follow the rules and policies that are set,” Victorino said during a Tuesday afternoon media update. “We are looking at the health aspect, the community aspect and the economic aspect.”

The new businesses and facilities listed in Gov. David Ige’s 7th Emergency Supplemental Proclamation included shopping malls, car washes, nonprofits and other retailers.

After the state was considered to be “flattening the curve,” Ige announced that he will be transitioning the “stay-at-home” order to stay “safer at home.”

However, Victorino said that Maui County still will be careful to avoid a “big spike” moving forward since medical facilities and supplies are limited.

Managing Director Sandy Baz said that administration officials still are reviewing the governor’s proclamation and working with the state attorney general’s office on any changes to the county’s emergency rules.

“Be advised that all businesses and services that are going to be open need to adapt their operations,” Baz said. “As the governor’s proclamation gets more evolved, we’ll be able to come back and be able to hopefully, answer more questions, and be able to provide a little more clarity about what’s opening.”

All open businesses and services must establish physical 6-foot distancing, sanitation and workplace safety practices, capacity limits and mandatory face coverings by staff and customers. Appointments and pickup and delivery services are encouraged, Baz said.

Employees who may have symptoms of COVID-19 need to stay home.

If shopping malls were reopened, group gatherings, socializing, dining and engaging in playground activities still would be prohibited.

Business owners, who want to learn more about how to modify operations, are asked to email the Department of Management at MD.Office@mauicounty.gov.

For businesses and facilities ready to reopen, Victorino said that the county will ensure that they comply with social distancing and sanitation protocols by possibly calling on the National Guard, as well as the Department of Health and the Maui Police Department, to help regulate and monitor operations. Self-monitoring and spot checks also will be utilized.

If COVID-19 positive cases begin to rise, Victorino said he will “not hesitate to shut down again.”

“We will continue to move and open up, but we want to watch as we open each group if there are any outbreaks or if there are any problems,” he said. “We want to do it meticulously, systematically so that we do it right, so please be patient with us.”

The governor issued the following businesses and activities for reopening:

• Nonfood agriculture businesses, including landscaping, floral and ornamental.

• Auto dealerships by appointment.

• Car washes.

• Pet grooming services.

• Health care organizations, which do elective surgery and nonemergency services, and social assistance agencies.

• Nonprofit and community services organizations.

• Retail businesses and services, including apparel, electronics and florists.

• Shopping malls.

• Real estate, rental and leasing companies, transactions by appointment only.

In other developments:

• The Office of Economic Development will be launching the Kama’aina First Program to support local small businesses. Although not official, the program will encourage residents to shop locally and look out for Kama’aina deals to help jump-start the economy. Businesses that may be interested in providing Kama’aina deals and incentives should call the economic development office at 270-7710 or email OED@mauicounty.gov.

• Maui County has more ventilators coming in for hospitals, but as of now, there are only 28 ventilators and 29 ICU beds available, Victorino said Tuesday.

• A fresh produce distribution is set for 2 to 3 p.m. today on Lanai in the county parking lot between the county gym and school cafeteria. Bags will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis.

* Melissa Tanji contributed to this story. Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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