Friday, May 1, 2020

Hawaii's new tourism brand: 'safest place in the world,' airport arrivals triple, thousands wait hours in Oahu food line, Kauai goes to 4-day workweeks, taxing the rich, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Plans in the works to market Hawaii as the ‘safest place in the world’. Most Hawaii businesses remain closed and the stay-home orders have not yet been lifted, but plans are already in the works to begin marketing the state to tourists as the safest place on earth. Star-Advertiser.

Senate committee wants passenger quarantine improved and scaled up to accommodate rising visitors. The Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 today criticized loopholes in the mandatory passenger quarantine and said they want them sealed before visitor counts to Hawaii begin rising again. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Officials Mull Further Restrictions On Tourists, But Data Show Most Virus Cases Are Residents. Data from the Hawaii Department of Health show that most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the islands are local residents. But some legislators are calling for increased quarantine restrictions on visitors. Hawaii Public Radio.

Airport arrivals triple in May, says state. Senators fear a resurgence of the coronavirus in Hawaii, citing lax airport visitor screenings and inconsistent quarantine enforcement. KITV4.

Airports official criticized over quarantine enforcement failures. An official tasked with overseeing the arrival of passengers at Hawaii’s airports was raked over the coals Thursday by members of the state Senate’s Special Committee on COVID-19. Tribune-Herald.

COVID-19 Monitoring Could Turn Hawaii Into A Tourist ‘Prison Camp,’ Critics Say. Among the possibilities state Attorney General Clare Connors has floated for monitoring tourists in quarantine are ankle bracelets and GPS monitoring. Civil Beat.

Mid-week visitor count moves higher, but out-of-state passenger trend remains low. Wednesday brought one of the highest counts of out-of-state visitor arrivals into the state since tourism lockdowns began in mid-March. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaiian Airlines adding one daily flight between Seattle, Honolulu. When people are ready to travel again, we wanted to know what airlines are doing to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. KHON2.

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Hawaii Lawmakers Are Trying To Figure Out How To Get Back Into Session. If details on social distancing and constitutionality can be worked out, the Hawaii Legislature could meet this month. Civil Beat.

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Clinical Labs of Hawaii ramps up antibody testing to further understanding of coronavirus. Clinical Labs of Hawaii started coronavirus antibody testing Thursday and is partnering with Hawaii Pacific Health which will start testing its employees Friday for free. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Pacific Health to begin coronavirus antibody testing for its employees. Hawaii Pacific Health will begin coronavirus antibody testing for 7,200 employees to assess the level of infection in the health care workforce. Star-Advertiser.

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No Quick Recovery, Say Hawai‘i’s Business Leaders. BOSS Survey of 404 local executives asks about Hawai‘i’s economic recovery, expected changes within their companies, the challenges of working from home, how they’ve adjusted their personal habits and more. Hawaii Business Magazine.

Eateries look to reopen dine-in areas with strict social distancing, hygiene practices. Lt. Gov. Josh Green said he wants to see restaurants open their dining rooms by the end of May. Hawaii News Now.

Federal help for independent contractors, gig workers in Hawaii still weeks away. The state has already received more than 7,500 unemployment claims from independent contractors since a state web portal was launched Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

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Judges have released more than 500 Hawaii inmates during pandemic. More than 500 Hawaii inmates have been released early by state judges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new report by a court-appointed special master. Hawaii News Now.

Hundreds of Hawaii inmates freed from overcrowded facilities to limit exposure to COVID-19. More than 650 inmates at Hawaii’s correctional centers have been released since March in the ongoing effort to reduce crowding in jails and prisons and to limit inmates’ exposure to COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

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Information Lockdown At Hawaii Labor Department Stymies Coronavirus Stories. Civil Beat tried to pursue stories about workers in unsafe conditions or denied workers’ compensation claims, but the state labor department says it’s too busy to answer questions. Civil Beat.

Gov. David Ige to step back from blanket suspension of open meetings law. State attorneys are working on language that would restore at least some portions of the Sunshine Law that requires government meetings to be public, a law that was suspended as part of an emergency proclamation issued by Gov. David Ige in mid-March to lessen the spread of the new coronavirus. Star-Advertiser.

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Hawaii coronavirus cases rise by 5 to 618. Hawaii’s tally of coronavirus cases has risen to 618, up five from Wednesday, the state Department of Health announced today. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii DOH Reports 5 New COVID-19 Cases. New infections were reported on the Big Island and Maui on Thursday. Civil Beat.

Public school round up: budget cuts and support for homeless students. Administrators looking at where it can cut from the budget; also considering buying buses to deliver supplies to homeless children. KITV4.

Walmart workers in Hawaii receive a total of $380K in bonuses. To give back in this time of uncertainty, one big box store is saying thank you to their employees in a big way. Walmart says associates in Hawaii received a bonus in their paychecks Thursday, which adding up to $380,000 statewide. KITV4.

No trims, no dyes, no perms for over a month. Under the state’s phased reopening plan, salons will be among the last to reopen. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu

‘Mind-blowing': Advocates say huge turnout for food distribution underscores scope of need. In a startling display of the scope of need on Oahu, thousands turned out Thursday to get free food at the first of a series of distribution events aimed at helping laid off workers. Hawaii News Now.

Thousands wait in line for food distribution. Thousands of Oahu residents lined up for free groceries Thursday — many enduring a 2-mile line of cars and a four-hour wait — in one of the most dramatic examples of economic suffering brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Thousands of people wait in line for hours for food on Oahu. Thousands of Oahu residents waited in long lines for hours on Thursday for 50 pounds of food provided by the City and County of Honolulu, the Bank of Hawaii Foundation, Hawaii Community Foundation and the Hawaii Foodbank. KHON2.

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The job of leading the City’s proposed COVID-19 testing program has been reassigned. The job of leading the City’s proposed COVID-19 testing program has been reassigned after the department director who had been spearheading the initiative was placed on paid leave. KHON2.

Select businesses allowed to reopen in first steps toward reopening economy.  Oahu is dipping a toe into efforts to reopen Hawaii’s economy. Hawaii News Now.

Some businesses on Oahu allowed to reopen under mayor’s recovery plan. One of the services allowed to re-open is automated car washes. KITV4.

Waipahu woman released due to pandemic is now back in custody for a carjacking. She was among the hundreds of Hawaii inmates released early due to the coronavirus pandemic. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

County mulls extra property tax on the rich: Revenues sought as COVID-19 cripples budget. Both County Council Chairman Aaron Chung and Mayor Harry Kim said Thursday they’re considering an additional tax for residences where the building plus land is valued at more than $1.5 million or $2 million. West Hawaii Today.

West Hawaii’s lawmakers set blueprint for reopening. The process to reopen Hawaii has officially begun. On Wednesday night, nine of West Hawaii’s leaders held a virtual town hall laying out the plan for opening the state following its closure due to the COVID-19 outbreak. West Hawaii Today.

Hilo jail population down 160 inmates due to court order. The inmate population at Hawaii Community Correctional Center continues to shrink as a result of an order by the Hawaii Supreme Court to reduce populations in the state’s jails and prisons to help prevent a COVID-19 outbreak in those facilities. Tribune-Herald.

Despite pandemic, Big Island real estate market fairly stable. Even as the COVID-19 pandemic affects industries worldwide, real estate activity on the Big Island remains relatively steady. Tribune-Herald.

Maui

Parks for limited use, golf courses to reopen Friday. Face masks required when in public. Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced Wednesday afternoon the first round of reopenings, starting with some beach and inland parks and golf courses at 7 a.m. Friday. Maui News.

Texas visitor disobeys quarantine order several times. Houston man is arrested; opts to leave voluntarily. Maui News.

Speeding Citations Up 92% Since Start of Maui’s Stay-at-Home Order. Speeding citations on Maui are up 92% since the start of Maui’s stay-at-home order was implemented on March 20, 2020.  The data covers a five-and-a-half week period through April 29, 2020. Maui Now.

35-MW wind farm is proposed in Ulupalakua. Auwahi 2 would sit next to sister project on ranch land. Maui News.

Kauai

Kauai County is giving the 4-day work week a try. Starting next week Monday, some 400 county workers will have Fridays off. Their pay is not being cut. Hawaii News Now.

Not a furlough; Kauai County will test out a four-day work week. Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami implemented a schedule change for county employees. KHON2.

Small businesses slowly readying for reopen. Slowly businesses are gearing up to open their doors after county and state officials have announced they’re starting to loosen up their restrictions and emergency rules. Garden Island.

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