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Mayor: E. Maui isolation to remain until people feel safe

Roadblock down temporarily but will go up again

Checkpoints at Twin Falls and just past Ulupalakua Ranch will remain in place until the Hana community and county feel the situation is safe, though the Haiku roadblock currently is down, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Tuesday.

The roadblocks have been manned by the National Guard and Maui police since mid-April. On March 18, Gov. David Ige instructed the state Department of Transportation to restrict travel to East Maui to residents, first responders and deliveries.

At his news conference Tuesday, Victorino said that the Twin Falls checkpoint is down “temporarily due to changes in what the Guard and the police have been able to accomplish, but I think we’re going to be reestablishing that in a very short time.”

As far as when the checkpoints will be removed, the mayor said “very soon.”

“As soon as we and the community feel safe for new travelers within the area, protecting the well-being of the community out in Hana,” he said.

On the Haiku side, the checkpoint is set up on Hana Highway at Twin Falls. On Thursday, Guard and police officers still were turning away nonresidents, about 10 by 11 a.m. The other checkpoint is on Piilani Highway near Ulupalakua Ranch.

In other COVID-19 developments, Victorino said that the influx of visitors arriving to the islands is being watched. On Monday, 41 visitors landed at Kahului Airport on two flights from the Mainland.

They are all required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

“This is summer, and in many areas, this is summer travel, and some of these travelers have already prearranged their vacations long ago, and so now they’re coming in,” he said. “We’re watching very diligently, and they’re monitoring very closely as they are arriving at the airport.”

Those visitors will not be legally staying at vacation rentals. Despite the easing of the interisland travel quarantine on June 16 and other business openings, vacation and short-term rentals will not be allowed to resume, Victorino said in answer to a question.

“Per the governor and the state’s order, no short-term rentals will be allowed, and even legal vacation rentals at this time will not be allowed,” he said.

During the media briefing, Managing Director Sandy Baz provided an update for fitness gyms and recreation facilities, aesticians and tattoo parlors resuming operations.

All individuals over the age of 5 must wear a mask inside fitness gyms and recreational facilities, except for during exercise.

High-risk individuals, such as the elderly or those with underlying health conditions, are urged to stay home. Those who are sick or show signs of a fever should stay home, too, Baz said.

Other general rules for businesses include preparing safeguards for high-risk populations, including to continue implementing “kupuna hours” and limiting building capacity.

Businesses also should post signs around the facility informing customers and employees of safety protocols and have cleaning supplies readily available. Facilities should be disinfected regularly, especially high-touch points like doors and countertops.

“I know a lot of businesses in the personal service industry are having people immediately wash their hands as they enter the facility,” he said. “If you can have a no-touch operation, even better.”

For more information or to review the specific rules, visit MauiCounty.gov.

Further easing of rules at Waiehu Municipal Golf Course begins today under new health and safety restrictions. Tee-time intervals have been expanded to nine-minutes and two people can ride in a cart. (They have to wear masks if not family.)

Golfers should arrive at the course no sooner than 30 minutes prior to their scheduled tee time, and socializing is not allowed in the parking lots and on the course.

The Department of Parks and Recreation announced additional phone lines for reservations — 270-7400, 757-4316 and 357-9270. Phone reservations start at 6:30 a.m. weekdays and at 5:30 a.m. weekends and holidays. Reservations can be made no sooner than 48 hours before the date of play.

No walk-on or standby players are allowed.

“These rules are very important to follow,” Victorino said. “It makes it simple, it makes it fair, and more importantly, it allows more people to utilize our facilities in a safe and healthy manner.”

In other developments:

• A produce distribution on Lanai is set for today from 2 to 3 p.m. or until supplies run out at the county parking lot between the county gym and school cafeteria. Bags will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis to families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. To maximize social distancing, produce distribution will be done in a grab-and-go drive-thru. Motorists will have the option of getting bags placed in their vehicle trunk or rear cargo area. Recipients are asked to wear face masks.

• Reservations for 45-minute lap swimming can be made by calling 270-6116, but John Buck, deputy director of the parks department, warned that the line is experiencing a high volume of calls. Buck encourages people to continue calling if they have difficulty reaching the receptionist.

* Dakota Grossman can be reached at dgrossman@mauinews.com.

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