Follow precautions that have kept COVID-19 cases low in our county


As we carefully prepare for the return of trans-Pacific travel beginning Aug. 1, we can reflect on our battle with COVID-19 and our road to recovery.

My staff prepared a timeline:

February: Maui County ramps up coronavirus response. Residents are asked to wash hands frequently, cover their coughs and stay home if sick.

March 4: Mayor Victorino issues a Public Health Emergency Proclamation.

March 6: First confirmed COVID-19 case in Hawaii is reported, an Oahu resident who traveled out of state.

March 9: Maui County departments increase sanitation efforts. Maui Bus vehicles are disinfected multiple times daily.

March 12: Mayor seeks $4 million budget amendment from County Council for preparations, mitigation, response and recovery from coronavirus.

March 14-15: Maui County closes community centers, fields, pools, gyms and other facilities.

March 15: Maui’s first confirmed coronavirus case is reported, a flight attendant who developed symptoms after arriving on the island.

March 16: Mayor submits budget amendment to County Council to make $4 million available for coronavirus impacts.

March 20: Public Health Emergency rules mandate closure of restaurants, cafes, bars, nightclubs, theaters and tourist attractions.

March 22: Mayor announces “stay at home and work from home” amendment to emergency rules. Travel is allowed for essential activities, business or government functions.

March 23: Gov. David Ige extends “stay at home” order statewide.

March 23: All County of Maui offices close.

March 23: Drive-through testing for coronavirus is launched at the War Memorial Gym parking lot. About 75 people tested.

March 26: Gov. Ige mandates all incoming out-of-state travelers to Hawaii to self-quarantine for 14 days.

March 27: Mayor signs bill providing for $2 million for the Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership. It helps residents with emergency assistance for rent, mortgage payments, food, utilities and other necessary expenses. More than 3,500 applications have been approved, with $1.6 million committed.

March 30: County of Maui holds first food distribution event in Pukalani. (More than a dozen other food distribution drives are held with community partners in April and May across Maui County, handing out over 8,000 bags of food to residents impacted by COVID-19. County partners with nonprofits and churches to provide another two to three times more.)

April 1: Mandatory 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers goes into effect.

April 2: Mayor announces a farmer assistance and food distribution program. The county commits to providing $30,000 per week to the Maui County Farm Bureau and Hawaii Farmers Union United to purchase food from local farmers and help with food distribution efforts. The Farm Bureau is provided $20,000 weekly to buy food for distribution.

April 3: Mayor announces Micro Business Loan program with $1 million to help businesses with 10 or fewer employees impacted by the coronavirus.

April 6: Maui’s first COVID-19-related death is reported.

April 7, 9-10, 15, 16, 23, 30: Drive-through coronavirus testing provided in Molokai, South Maui, West Maui, Molokai, Lanai, twice in Hana and five times in Central Maui. (More than 1,000 tested during the events. Maui County leads the state in per capita testing.)

April 9, 16-17, 22-23, 29: Food distributions held in South Maui, West Maui, Paia-Haiku, Hana, and twice in Central Maui and Lanai.

May 1: Maui County golf courses and select county parks reopen in first phase of easing COVID-19 restrictions.

May 11: Retail stores and shopping malls are allowed to reopen with physical distancing requirements.

May 15: Mayor submits $67 million CARES Act budget amendment to County Council to address public health and economic impacts. (Council passes and mayor signs measure on June 5.)

May 16: Phase 2 reopening of parks, including select tennis and pickleball courts.

May 29: In-person religious services resume.

June 1: All county parks and beach parks reopen along with most pools. Most businesses are allowed to reopen.

June 1: Kama’aina First program launches to give residents the opportunity to take advantage of deals on food, services and products. Website is at www.kamaainafirst.com.

June 16: Interisland travel quarantine lifted.

June 24-26: Nearly 300 people get tested for COVID-19 in West, South and Central Maui.

We have made much progress, but we must continue to remain vigilant and follow the strict health and safety precautions that have kept COVID-19 cases low in our county.

* “Our County,” a column from Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino, discusses county issues and activities of county government. The column usually appears on the first and third Saturdays of the month.


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