March 20, 2020
Dear Governor Ige:
In light of the current COVID-19 corona virus pandemic, and speaking officially in our capacity as members of the Honolulu City Council, we respectfully request that your administration consider the immediate implementation of the following steps as a statewide directive:
1) Restrict the number of visitors to Hawaii, by discouraging their arrivals with a mandatory self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. The State Department of Health (DOH) noted yesterday that of the number of patients who've tested positive for COVID-19, all but one were likely to have contracted the virus outside of Hawaii, and only became ill upon their arrival. The one patient who apparently contracted the virus here was someone who worked in a tourism related business and had extensive contact with visitors.
2) Require all Hawaii residents who are returning to the islands from the U.S. mainland and foreign countries to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days. The first two recorded COVID-19 victims in Hawaii were local residents who likely contracted the virus while on trips to China and Washington State, respectively.
3) Strongly discourage Hawaii residents from non-essential off-island travel through April30.
4) Order the Hawaii Tourism Authority and our travel industry, including airlines and hotels, to immediately cease all advertising campaigns and discounts luring visitors who reside on the U.S. mainland and foreign countries to come to Hawaii.
5) Extend the current April 20 deadline for the filing of state income tax returns by 90 days. The federal government has already done so. There is no reason why the state government shouldn't do likewise.
6) Deny entry to all cruise lines entering the State of Hawaii. Due to the unprecedented nature of the novel coronavirus pandemic, and the increased risk of transmission of COVID-19 on cruise ships, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending that travelers defer all cruise travel worldwide.
We recognize that these actions will have immediate and significant economic impacts. However, we remain gravely concerned that a prolonged and widespread outbreak in our State may significantly impact our economy for years to come. It is our belief, with prudent and swift action, our isolation can be an asset in our efforts to protect the public health, safety and welfare of Hawaii residents.
(Editor's Note: One problem with that argument--a quarantine mandate would be lifted only because of a reduction of COVID in the rest of the world. It would not be lifted because COVID has been reduced in Hawaii.)
We truly appreciate the leadership being shown by members of your administration during this period of emergency, and we stand ready to immediately assist those efforts in the City and County of Honolulu upon request.
Signed by All Nine Members of Honolulu Council
KITV: Honolulu City Council wants the governor to mandate a 14-day quarantine for anyone coming to Hawai'i