This Major U.S. City Is Locking Down Again Due to a Coronavirus Surge
Once considered "safe," this state's capital is undergoing another round of "stay-at-home" orders.
While some areas of the U.S. were early epicenters of the COVID pandemic or fell victim to the post-reopening spikes of June and July, certain states have been able to hold on to a "safe" title pretty much since the beginning. But one such place is now seeing a reversal of fortunes: Hawaii. Yes, just when we thought we'd controlled the pandemic in the summer's biggest hotspots, the virus is starting to take over in the island state. And thanks to a major coronavirus surge there, Honolulu has announced that it's the latest major U.S. city going back into lockdown.
The new "stay-at-home" orders are slated to go into effect on August 27 and will apply to the entire island of Oahu, which is home to Honolulu, the state's bustling capital and largest city. At that point, all "non-essential" businesses—including gyms, salons, and retail stores—must shutter for two weeks, Hawaii News Now reports. Bars, beaches, and parks, which are already closed on the island, will stay shuttered as part of the new ordinance.
The orders stop short of closing restaurants, which will be allowed to stay open to provide takeaway service only. Public schools and the University of Hawaii are also spared from closing down, as well as "essential services" such as banks, grocery stores, hardware stores, and gas stations. None of the other Hawaiian islands are affected by the new ruling.
"Re-implementing a stay-at-home order is what Oahu needs at this time," Hawaii Gov. David Ige said at a press conference on August 26.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell also announced that he planned to use federal assistance to ramp up testing on the island in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. "I think the mayor and I both agree that we wish that the actions taken already would have been more successful," Ige said. "It has flattened the curve a little but we both agree we have to do more."
Since reopening from its initial stay-at-home orders on June 19, the Aloha State has seen a steady increase in COVID cases for an area that was once largely spared thanks to its strict quarantine orders on tourists and visitors from the mainland. On August 19, the state also scrapped its plans to welcome back tourists without quarantining due to surging numbers, pushing back their official reopening until at least October 1.
As of August 26, The New York Times reports that Hawaii is seeing an average of 234 new cases per day, representing a 40 percent increase from the average just two weeks ago. And for more on how one former hotspot beat the virus back, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Is Why Coronavirus Cases Are Dropping in Arizona.