Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Hawaii mulls public employee pay cuts, COVID-19 cluster at Kona fast-food eatery, Honolulu tightens mask requirements, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

from HGEA Facebook page
Hawaii Government Employees Association workers HGEA Facebook photo
Unions: Governor is proposing 20% pay cuts for ‘most’ state employees. The governor has proposed a 20% pay cut for “most” public employees as early as May 1, according to two public sector unions. Hawaii News Now.

HSTA says Ige proposing pay cut for teachers, first responders, and nurses. The Hawaii State Teacher’s Union says it has received notice from Governor David Ige’s office, alerting them about a possible 20% pay cut. KHON2.


Hawaii explores visitor crackdowns as more keep coming. Emergency Management Agency Incident Commander Kenneth Hara said he is working with state Attorney General Claire Connors to see whether it’s possible for Hawaii to restrict visitors who arrive for leisure from making lodging reservations. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii’s daily visitor count hits highest level since quarantine started. The count of daily trans-Pacific visitors rose to its highest level since the first day that Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine was implemented for all arriving passengers. Star-Advertiser.


State hopes to start giving out extra unemployment payments in a week. The state hopes to start distributing by April 22 the first of many thousands of checks that will include the extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits that has been promised by the federal government, according to Scott Murakami, state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations director. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Updates Unemployment Application To Include Pacific Migrants. The state’s fix isn’t perfect but it allows migrants from Micronesia the same level of access to unemployment benefits as other legal workers. Civil Beat.

State launches new online portal for tracking unemployment claims. The status form went online Tuesday after multiple complaints from people waiting to receive benefits. Hawaii News Now.

$20 million in unemployment benefits paid out so far in April. The state Director of Labor and Industrial Relations on Tuesday gave lawmakers some good news regarding unemployment benefits claims, which have skyrocketed during the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.


Safety versus liberty: Constitutional freedoms tempered by COVID-19 crisis. When a constitutional lawyer says the Hawaii government is within its rights to restrict basic freedoms during the coronavirus pandemic, you can probably take that to the bank. West Hawaii Today.

Lockdown Not in Violation of Constitutional Rights, Law Professor Says. A common argument against Hawai‘i’s statewide lockdown is that it’s a violation of an individual’s personal freedoms — restricting movement, erasing jobs and punishing anyone who doesn’t comply. Big Island Now.


Hawaii Experts Disagree Over Importance Of Testing In Reopening Economy. Experts in academia and healthcare have unveiled separate plans for safely reopening Hawaii’s economy. Both frameworks rely heavily on testing, but the state health director says that isn’t where the focus should be. Hawaii Public Radio.

Hawaii is making progress in ‘flattening the curve.’ Now what? The business closures, school shutdowns, social distancing, and masks — it’s all working. State leaders say we all need to keep doing it. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii’s daily count for new coronavirus cases has been trending downward in recent days, in an encouraging sign that social distancing efforts are working. But officials warned Tuesday that returning too quickly to business as usual could be disastrous. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Lags Behind Other States In Release Of COVID-19 Data. State health officials say they are trying to release more data and are open to providing whatever information people want to know. Civil Beat.


Is Hawaii ready to handle a wave of mass evictions? With nearly a quarter million Hawaii residents filing for unemployment, it stands to reason that the next crisis to hit the Islands will be mass evictions from people who cannot pay their rent. That's what a group of state Senators predicts, and they quizzed Attorney General Clare Connors about it on Tuesday. KITV4.

Lawsuit: Special Ed Students Need Extra Help When Schools Reopen. A potential class action suit proposes that the Hawaii DOE set parameters to assess the needs of Hawaii’s special education students during the school closures. Civil Beat.

Economists Seek Data To Help Hawaii Businesses. Detailed information can help policymakers steer assistance to needy areas and industries. Businesses across Hawaii are being asked to participate in a statewide survey designed to identify what businesses will continue to need assistance and to help plan for restoring the economy. Civil Beat.

State making sure safety-net programs continue uninterrupted during pandemic. Several state programs to assist with food, finances and child care are available during the COVID-19 crisis for those who might need help. Tribune-Herald.

Demand for food assistance in Hawaii skyrockets during COVID-19 crisis. With Hawaii’s economy in the tank due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people than ever are reaching out for food to feed their families. Star-Advertiser.

Deal to save Meadow Gold Hawaii collapses. A deal that would have saved Meadow Gold Hawaii has been dropped. On Monday, Meadow Gold’s parent company, Dean Foods, said it intended to close its Honolulu facility by April 30. Hawaii News Now.


Mayor Caldwell mandates masks for business interactions. Starting Monday, everyone conducting a business transaction on the island will need to wear a nonsurgical mask. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Will Require Masks At Businesses And Riding Transit. Starting Monday, all visitors to grocery stores and other open businesses will need to keep their faces covered with a mask, scarf, bandanna or other material. Civil Beat.

Under emergency order, city to make non-medical face masks mandatory in public. The city is making face masks mandatory for most interactions in public, including when visiting businesses, on the city bus, or when ordering from the drive-thru. Hawaii News Now.


The Coronavirus Has Been Good For Hanauma Bay. Scientists says studies being done in the unusual absence of tourists will help them understand the impact of large numbers of people on the natural world. Civil Beat.

Visitor pays fine and apologizes for slapping Hawaiian monk seal on Oahu. The attorney for a man who slapped a Hawaiian monk seal while visiting Oahu several months ago has issued an apology on behalf of his client. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

COVID-19 cluster tied to Kona McDonald’s. State health officials said there is no “significant risk” to the public after a dozen people associated with a Kailua-Kona fast-food establishment tested positive for COVID-19. West Hawaii Today.

Second cluster of Hawaii coronavirus cases found at McDonald’s in Kona. An employee who contracted the new coronavirus inadvertently infected six other workers at McDonald’s locations on Makala Boulevard at Kona Commons and at Walmart in Kailua-Kona. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 Cluster Linked To Kona McDonalds. State officials eventually confirmed the "limited, localized community spread of COVID-19 among employees at a Kona food establishment" took place at two Kona McDonalds. Big Island Video News.

12 Positive Cases Tied to McDonald’s COVID-19 Cluster in Kona on Hawai‘i Island. On Hawaiʻi Island, a cluster at a fast food restaurant in Kona has resulted in 12 positive cases–including seven workers and five family members of two of the employees. Maui Now.

COVID-19 cluster prompts closure, cleaning of Kona fast food eateries. The state Health Department is investigating a cluster of coronavirus cases linked to two fast food eateries in Kona. Hawaii News Now.

DOH investigating localized community spread among McDonald's employees in Kona. The Department of Health is investigating a limited, localized community spread of COVID-19 among McDonald's employees in Kona. KITV4.

Kona Coronavirus Cluster Swells to 14. A cluster of coronavirus cases in Kailua-Kona has swelled from eight to 14 overnight and left both McDonald’s locations in West Hawai‘i closed indefinitely. Big Island Now.


Kubota confirmed as Third Circuit judge. The state Senate announced on Monday announced the confirmation of Peter K. Kubota as Circuit Count judge of the Third Circuit. West Hawaii Today.

Kona airport to get $13M in federal funding. Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole will receive more than $13 million in federal funds after the U.S. Department of Transportation announced a $10 billion aid package to support airports nationwide. West Hawaii Today.


Mayor not taking position on calls to oust hospital leaders. He remains concerned about virus cluster but calls hospital safe. Maui News.

Things Got Out Of Hand Quickly At Maui Hospital. Staff at the Maui medical facility that is the center of a COVID-19 cluster describe a chaotic week on the job. Civil Beat.

16 tested after Kula Hospital employee comes down with virus. A total of 16 people who were believed to have been exposed to a worker with COVID-19 at Kula Hospital have been tested for the virus, according to a state official. Maui News.


Kauai mayor expands virus measures. Everyone over age 5 on Kauai must wear a cloth face mask during most activities while outside in public to curb the spread of COVID-19, according to a new county mandate. Star-Advertiser.

Council makes Brun ex-officio member. Kaua‘i County Councilmember Arthur Brun has been in federal custody in Honolulu since his arrest this winter. Garden Island.

Loosening up the rules. County of Kauai has loosened restrictions for construction and landscaping and for realtors starting today, cracking open the stay-at-home mandate and allowing some local residents to get back to work. Garden Island.

Lihu‘e Airport gets funding. The Lihu‘e Airport, Kaua‘i’s gateway to air travel, is scheduled to receive more than $13 million in funding. Garden Island.


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