Thursday, May 21, 2020

Feds give green light to test incoming tourists, COVID-19 complicates hurricane response, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park opens some trails, libraries reopen book drops, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

2018 file photo
Downtown Hilo during Hurricane Lane 2018 file photo
Hawaii Braces For A Dual Threat: Hurricanes And COVID-19. The pandemic will make Hawaii’s response to a natural disaster even more daunting, officials say. Civil Beat.

State grapples with preparing for hurricane season amid COVID-19 pandemic. The National Weather Service is predicting two to six tropical cyclones over the course of the 2020 hurricane season in the Central Pacific. Hawaii News Now.

Hurricane season could be complicated by coronavirus response. The Central Pacific is expected to see two to six tropical cyclones for the annual hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, events that could be complicated by the new coronavirus. Star-Advertiser.

Masks and hand sanitizers essential in hurricane supply kit. Add on masks and hand sanitizers to your 14-day hurricane supply kit. That’s according to emergency officials, who say COVID-19 also poses unique challenges if evacuations are needed. KHON2.

As pandemic continues, Hawaii readies for hurricane season. The Big Island’s Civil Defense chief said his agency is “ramped up as much as we can be” for the upcoming start of hurricane season because of the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

Virus prompts changes for hurricane evacuation shelters. New requirements will be in place at Hawaii’s hurricane evacuation shelters, should they need to be used amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

Hurricane season ahead: Forecast calls for 2-6 tropical cyclones in Central Pacific. Forecasters are calling for near- to below-normal tropical cyclone activity within the Central Pacific this hurricane season. West Hawaii Today.

2 to 6 tropical cyclones forecast for Central Pacific in 2020. The Central Pacific is expected to see two to six tropical cyclones for the annual hurricane season that runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, officials said today. Star-Advertiser.

2020 hurricane season prediction: 2-6 cyclones. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting between two and six tropical cyclones in the Central Pacific hurricane region in the upcoming 2020 hurricane season. Garden Island.


Feds give green light to test tourists prior to their arrival in Hawaii. Nothing in the Federal Aviation Administration or the United States Department of Transportation regulations that prohibits the state from requiring such testing. KITV4.

A negative COVID-19 test before landing in Hawaii? Some lawmakers push the idea. Hawaii lawmakers are discussing multiple efforts to restarting tourism while keeping the coronavirus out. Passengers could avoid quarantine by testing negative for the virus before coming to Hawaii. Hawaii News Now.

More lawmakers call for COVID-19 tests in passenger screenings. U.S. Transportation officials have told state lawmakers the federal government cannot prevent a COVID-19 testing program for travelers, but the state cannot stop someone who does not want to be tested from boarding a plane. KHON2.


Hawaii Prosecutors Want COVID-19 Inmate Releases Stopped. The state has released more than 800 inmates since early March. Three county prosecutors say the public safety risk outweighs COVID-19 dangers. Civil Beat.

Honolulu police already have rearrested 47 people who were released from jail in recent weeks as part of the effort to reduce the inmate population to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the state correctional system, lawmakers were told Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.


Waipahu hit hard by joblessness, stats show. A breakdown of nearly 150,000 initial unemployment claims by the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations also shows that four of the 10 ZIP codes with the highest number of claims in the tally are on Maui. Star-Advertiser.

Hotel occupancy plunged 88% in April compared to 2019. Fewer than one out of every 10 hotel rooms was occupied in Hawaii in April as the coronavirus lockdown devastated one of the nation’s top hotel markets. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Public Summer School to Include Some In-Person Instruction. The Hawaii State Department of Education will begin offering summer school on June 1. The classes will be provided with a mixed approach of both distance learning and in-person instruction. Hawaii Public Radio.


Hawaii’s libraries prepare to start a new chapter as branches slowly resume service. All 51 branches of the Hawaii State Public Library System have been closed for more than two months. Hawaii News Now.

Library book drops are open. The Hawai‘i State Public Library System announced that library book drops are now open to return library materials. Garden Island.


VIRUS TRACKER — MAY 20: 2 More COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. New coronavirus cases were confirmed in Hawaii County and on Oahu Wednesday. Civil Beat.

Two new coronavirus cases in Hawaii bring statewide total to 643. Hawaii’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen by two cases to a total of 643, the state Department of Health announced today. Star-Advertiser.

DOH Reports 2 New COVID-19 Cases Statewide. Two new COVID-19 cases — one in Honolulu County and one in Hawai‘i County —  brings the state total of cases to 643, according to the Hawai‘i Department of Health. Big Island Now.


Solar heaters, EV-ready stalls to be required in new houses. Requiring new houses come installed with solar hot water heaters and mandating that all new buildings set aside parking stalls that can be used to recharge electric vehicles are among the changes in a planned revamp of Honolulu’s energy code that won final approval from the City Council Wednesday. Star-Advertiser.

The Pay Keeps Flowing For Accused Honolulu Officials On Leave. Accused workers are presumed innocent, but some question whether they should continue to be paid as months turn into years. Civil Beat.


Hanabusa Officially Running To Be Honolulu Mayor. The former congresswoman says her federal and state experience is critical in the wake of COVID-19. Civil Beat.

Colleen Hanabusa touts political experience as she enters Honolulu mayoral race. Former Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa has officially filed her papers to run for Honolulu mayor. Hawaii News Now.

Former Representative Colleen Hanabusa running for Honolulu Mayor. It is official, former Hawaii U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa is running for Honolulu Mayor. KITV4.


Queen’s resumes non-emergency surgeries at main Honolulu operating room. The Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu resumed non-emergency surgeries today at its main operating room after gradually reopening clinics and other outpatient services over the past three weeks. Star-Advertiser.

Oahu Coal Plant Vows To Reduce Carbon Emissions. AES Hawaii’s announcement came after the Sierra Club filed suit asking the state to impose a lower standard required by law. Civil Beat.

Honolulu Developing A Major Expansion Of COVID-19 Testing. The city is working with health centers across Oahu to expand testing in targeted communities, hoping to augment the state’s programs. Civil Beat.

Oahu retailers struggling to climb out of slump from COVID-19 closures. Although many shopping malls and retailers reopened their doors Friday, the abrupt closures due to the coronavirus pandemic have taken a toll. Star-Advertiser.

Marilyn Bornhorst, former Honolulu city councilwoman, dies at age 93. Marilyn Bornhorst, a forward-thinking former Honolulu City Council woman who helped preserve open views along the Ka Iwi coastline, promoted the idea for what today is Kakaako’s largest public green space and helped community organizations navigate the political landscape, has died. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

New tax tier for luxury homes. Council also approves raises for some employees while prepping for budget work. With serious work on the coronavirus-stricken county budget set to begin today, the County Council on Wednesday set up a property tax structure that would allow it to tax $2 million-plus second homes at a higher rate than other residential property. West Hawaii Today.

Council supports grant award to reopen access to Puna farms. The Hawaii County Council voted in support of a resolution to award a $50,000 grant to a Puna nonprofit to reopen access to Puna farms isolated by lava. Tribune-Herald.

Ruderman won’t seek third Senate term. State Sen. Russell Ruderman of Puna announced today he would not seek a third term. Tribune-Herald.

Public Comment Sought On Draft Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. The comment period runs from May 19 to June 2, and the County is planning a virtual presentation over the internet set for May 27. Big Island Video News.


Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park Reopens Sections For Public Use. Some areas of the park have been reopened following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local authorities. Big Island Video News.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park begins phased reopening. Parts of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park have reopened to the public for limited use as the park begins its phased reopening plan. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Memorial Medical Center declares COVID-19 outbreak ‘closed’. Hawaii’s largest coronavirus outbreak at Maui Memorial Medical Center in Kahului is now considered over. Star-Advertiser.


CARES Act funding for Kaua‘i housing. The county’s Housing Agency received community development funds to soften the blow of the coronavirus crisis across public services and by providing new facilities, including the first of a series of tiny house villages. Garden Island.

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