Kauai to change COVID-19 reopening plan to better handle delta variant challenges
LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — The island of Kauai is planning to revise its coronavirus restriction structure as the delta variant continues to impact the county.
Mayor Derek Kawakami said officials will continue to enforce strict COVID-19 safety measures even as the state approaches a vaccination rate of 70 percent, a milestone earlier set for loosening rules under a tiered reopening plan, The Garden Island reported Friday.
“Throughout this pandemic, we have adjusted to the changing realities of COVID-19, and we continually work to keep our community safe while doing everything we can to keep our businesses and activities open,” Kawakami said.
Changes will need to be approved by Gov. David Ige.
The current tier system would have allowed for all restrictions, including business capacity rules and gathering sizes, to be dropped when the population was 70 percent vaccinated.
About 67 percent of state residents and 65 percent of Kauai residents are fully vaccinated.
“As we have seen the effects of the delta variant, and as we approach that 70 percent benchmark, we know that continued safety measures will be necessary to contain the spread of disease on our island,” Kawakami said.
The county recently instituted a citation system for emergency rule violations that includes fines of $250 for individuals and $500 for businesses or events.