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Mayor calls for lifting of interisland travel quarantine

He also is allowing businesses expedited reviews for repair or renovation permits

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is requesting that Gov. David Ige lift the 14-day quarantine on interisland travel beginning June 15.

In a Facebook post Saturday afternoon, the mayor said the lifting of the quarantine would be part of the phased reopening of businesses and operations toward economic recovery.

He noted that Maui County residents have been restricted from interisland travel for more than two months.

“This will provide our community with a sense of normalcy, especially for those with family and friends on Neighbor Islands,” he said. “Allowing them to travel is the start of economic recovery.”

The reopening of interisland travel also would allow airports the opportunity to enhance policies and procedures and test equipment needed for screening arriving and departing passengers, Victorino said.

“This would allow our airports to prepare for future trans-Pacific travel,” he said.

Ige issued the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine on interisland travel for all visitors and residents effective April 1. The governor indicated earlier this week that the removal of the quarantine would be coming soon.

However at a Friday news conference, Victorino said he still was mulling a final plan and potential restrictions and that a decision on the removal of the interisland quarantine wasn’t expected for a few weeks.

There was no response Sunday from the governor’s office to the mayor’s request.

In other economic developments related to the coronavirus over the weekend, Victorino issued a directive that county agencies move quickly to review permits for repairs and renovations for businesses affected by emergency orders related to the virus.

The directive involves businesses fully or partially closed because of virus impacts, a news release Sunday said. These businesses may conduct repairs, renovations and maintenance, and the directive will remain in place until further notice.

With expedited review:

• Initial review of building permits (that do not require electrical or plumbing permits) will be completed in 15 calendar days or the application will be considered approved.

• Initial special management area application review will be completed in 15 calendar days or the application will be considered approved or an exemption or minor permit will be issued.

• Initial review of electrical and plumbing permits will be completed in 15 calendar days, but there is no automatic approval.

Applicants may contact community liaison Don Couch in the Office of the Mayor at 270-7855 to indicate that they are submitting an application for permits that are eligible for expedited review.

The directive does not include:

• Expansion of or additions to existing structures.

• New structures.

• Any work that involves ground-alterations or excavation.

• Any work on nonconforming structures.

• Any work outside the scope of the permit.

• Any other applicable permitting requirements.

• Waiver or release of any other applicable federal, state or county requirements.

• Suspension of any pending or future enforcement action.

“Shuttered businesses have helped flatten the curve of the coronavirus in our community, and now they have the opportunity to do certain repairs and renovations with an expedited permit review process,” Victorino said. “The County of Maui will help businesses do what they need to do to transition to the new normal, a stronger, healthier island community and more resilient economy.”

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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