Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Hotel keys to keep tourists in quarantine, Ige backs off employee pay cuts, furloughs, Legislature divvies up federal CARES funds, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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One-time use key among new methods for strengthening quarantine monitoring. One of the updates included a new method hotels are making sure their guests are following the quarantine. This is by giving them a one-time use room key. KHON2.

Vacation rentals use loopholes to skirt quarantine. Vacation rentals, which have been ruled nonessential businesses statewide as government tries to stop the spread of COVID-19, are still drawing visitors to Hawaii. Star-Advertiser.

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Ige tells state workers: There’s no ‘immediate need’ to consider pay cuts or furloughs. The governor sought to reassure state workers Tuesday, saying there is no “immediate need to consider pay cuts or furloughs” despite the gaping budget shortfall. Hawaii News Now.

Lawmakers Are Deciding How To Spend Federal Bailout Money. The House Finance Committee doesn’t want state agencies to use federal stimulus dollars if they already have state money that can be used. Civil Beat.

Hawaii lawmakers tackle the state's budget bills. COVID 19 plays a big part in budget requests and spending in the state's multi-billion dollar budget bills. KITV4.

Color-coded state recovery plan to be unveiled. A cryptic, color-coded plan to reopen more parts of Hawaii’s economy will be unveiled this week, the House Finance Committee was told Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

State aims to work with University of Hawaii to train contact tracers. The state Department of Health today asked lawmakers to appropriate about $2.5 million to fund a program at the University of Hawaii that would train workers to track contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Associated Press.

Hawaii’s Struggling Farms Want The State To Become A Bigger Customer. With local farmers reeling from a drop in demand from hotels and restaurants, advocates hope schools, prisons and hospitals will buy more local produce. Civil Beat.

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As ER Volumes Drop, Hawaii Doctors Worry People Are Delaying Care. Many health professionals across the state suspect the main reason for the decline in ER visits is patients’ fear of catching the coronavirus at the hospital. Hawaii Public Radio.

Doctors worry people are avoiding hospitals despite serious medical needs. Hawaii doctors are alarmed at the dramatic decline in emergency room visits in the last month. They say people are so afraid of contracting COVID-19, many are now ignoring life-threatening illnesses. Hawaii News Now.

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School’s Out And With It A Reliable System For Flagging Abuse. School closures caused by COVID-19 this spring have meant fewer reports of possible abuse, but more neighbors and relatives are making calls. Civil Beat.

One new coronavirus case on Oahu brings statewide total to 635. Health officials said this afternoon that the new case was an out-of-state resident who was screened at the airport and subsequently tested positive. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu

Pandemic Forces Honolulu Council To Slash Budget. Oahu’s local government isn’t expected to be as hard hit as Hawaii state government. Civil Beat.

State to borrow from new stadium project. While the state Legislature intends to pull back $20 million in general funds that had been appropriated to help build the New Aloha Stadium Entertainment District, it still expects to allot a full $350 million in financing to the project, lawmakers said Tuesday. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu malls and retail centers plan to reopen Friday. Several of Oahu’s shopping malls and retail centers are getting ready to reopen Friday as part of the first phase in reopening the state’s economy, but with new guidelines in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu retailers urge customers to prepare for a very different shopping experience. Two months after they were forced to close down, Oahu retailers are scrambling to put the finishing touches on their stores to be able to reopen Friday. Hawaii News Now.

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Mayor offering grants to very small Oahu businesses. The city is directing at least $25 million in federal coronavirus relief aid to help very small businesses on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

Mayor Caldwell announces new relief and recovery fund for small businesses. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces a Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund to help small local businesses who need it most, like mom and pop shops, and other Honolulu restaurants and stores that have been hit hard by COVID-19. KHON2.

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Rail’s interim opening is pushed back to March. City officials now don’t expect the first segment of the $9.2 billion rail line will be operational until March, three months later than had been forecast. Star-Advertiser.

Date for rail to be up and running pushed back. The date that the Honolulu rail system was set to be up and running has been pushed back. KITV4.

City Council Grows Anxious As Rail’s COVID-19 Problems Deepen. The transit project has been plagued for years by skyrocketing costs. Now it faces a $100 million slump in the revenues that fund construction. Civil Beat.

After more than a year of deliberations, the Honolulu Rate Commission gave final OK to a plan that raises daily fares and monthly and annual passes for bus and rail riders but leaves it up to the City Council to decide when the new rates should kick in. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii police union announces endorsement in Honolulu mayoral race. A former broadcast executive turned mayoral candidate has scooped up a valuable endorsement. The State of Hawaii Organization of Police Officers endorsed Rick Blangiardi for Honolulu mayor on Tuesday. Hawaii News Now.

The Pandemic Ignites A Bike Boom In Honolulu. With gyms closed and other exercise options limited, bicycle shops say they are selling almost every bike they can get their hands on. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

$80M CARES funds could come to Hawaii County. Hawaii County would receive $80 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funding under a bill moving through the state Legislature. West Hawaii Today.

PGV reboot delayed again. Commercial operations at Puna Geothermal Venture are expected to begin in the fourth quarter, said parent company Ormat Technologies Inc. on Monday as part of a first-quarter earnings update. Tribune-Herald.

Corporation counsel responds to ACLU letter criticizing county’s decision to remove homeless camp. Hawaii County’s top civil attorney responded to a letter by the American Civil Liberties Union criticizing the county’s decision to remove a downtown Hilo homeless camp in April. Tribune-Herald.

No Active COVID-19 Cases On Hawaii Island, Civil Defense Reports. All 75 identified cases of COVID-19 on the Big Island have been cleared by the Department of Health as recovered, the mayor says. Big Island Video News.

The Big Island now has no active COVID-19 cases, but mayor urges vigilance. Hawaii Island on Tuesday reached an encouraging milestone in the coronavirus pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Maui

Mayor Says “Absolutely Not” When Asked about Lifting Travel Quarantine on May 31st. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said he plans to announce tomorrow (Wednesday, May 13, 2020), Phase 2 of the opening of Maui’s parks. Maui Now.

A Mixed Reopening. Customers hope more shops resume business. Just because retailers were allowed to reopen Monday didn’t mean they would actually do it, many shoppers learned when visiting malls around Maui. Maui News.

Retail businesses on Maui slow to reopen. Free standing stores and some stores within shopping malls are now allowed to get back to business but many are choosing to remain closed. KITV4.

Kauai

Groundbreaking for Pua Loke. Construction for the $27.5 million project will consist of three residential buildings containing one- to three-bedroom rental units and is slated to begin before the end of this month. Garden Island.

Suicide uptick raises concern. Four suicides on Kaua‘i in less than a week have prompted concern by police and health workers that the COVID-19 crisis is moving in a dangerous new direction, with broad risks to mental health caused by joblessness, financial reversals and despair. Garden Island.

Seal found dead was pregnant. The Hawaiian monk seal found dead on Ha‘ena Beach in late April was pregnant, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Garden Island.

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