Friday, June 19, 2020

Attorney General proposes more power for Health Department, tighter vacation rental laws, unemployment dips slightly, COVID-19 cases spike upon reopening, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

Attorney General Clare Connors addresses Senate Special Committee on COVID-19
AG proposes measures aimed at improving state’s response during pandemics. Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors told lawmakers Thursday she’s proposing a set of bills aimed at a smoother transition into emergency mode and better tracking of quarantined individuals during pandemics. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Short Term Vacation Rental Rules Clarified, New Bill Proposed. As state and local officials explain the current rules, the attorney general is bringing forward a new Short Term Vacation Rental related bill for the Legislature to consider. Big Island Video News.

State says greater testing capacity, digital records on visitors needed to restart tourism. Greater testing capacity, thermal screening machines, digital records on tourists. Those are among the requests state Department of Health leaders want ahead of Hawaii welcoming out-of-state visitors without a mandatory quarantine. Hawaii News Now.

Health officials, COVID committee discuss testing, tracking travelers. Hawaii’s health director and state epidemiologist both expressed misgivings Thursday about adopting a COVID-19 testing model for travelers based on the one recently implemented in Alaska. Tribune-Herald.

COVID-19 infections spike will not stall reopening Hawaii, officials say. Hawaii’s daily COVID-19 case count rose to 18 cases Thursday, but officials say the spike was expected and hasn’t reached a threshold that would delay reopening for the state’s local economy or interfere with planning to restart Hawaii tourism. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 testing, temperature checks and quarantine will be imperfect, health director says. Leading state health officials are basically pouring cold water on the hopes of anyone in Hawaii who expects that COVID-19 testing, temperature checks, health questionnaires or quarantine will somehow open a disease-free path to restarting the state’s tourism industry. Star-Advertiser.

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Hawaii unemployment rate dips slightly to 22.6% in May. Hawaii saw a slight dip in its unemployment rate in May after skyrocketing since March due to business closures brought on by state mandates related to the coronavirus pandemic, officials with the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced Thursday. Pacific Business News.

Unemployment rate in Hawai'i sees slight decrease. The unemployment rate for Hawaii in May was 22.6%. KITV4.

DLIR Says 90% of Valid Unemployment Claims Now Paid. Hawai‘i has paid out more than $1.5 billion in unemployment insurance claims since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a release from the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations Thursday. Big Island Now.

Reports: Thousands More Likely To Soon Suffer Severe Financial Hardship In Hawaii. Two recent reports predict tougher times ahead when federal relief money runs out in another few weeks. Civil Beat.

More than half Hawaii households struggle under Covid, Aloha United Way says. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the economic hardships for the Hawaii households that are above the federal poverty line but still barely getting by and has caused their numbers to jump to more than half the state’s population, according to Aloha United Way. Pacific Business News.

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On laggy livestream, mayors say better connectivity needed. During a sputtering and lagging livestream Thursday, all four mayors in Hawaii said they think the COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to improve internet infrastructure and connectivity throughout the state. Tribune-Herald.

Black Lives Matter movement in Hawaii continues to grow and conjure up vivid memories. Today is Juneteenth, the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 that all enslaved black people learned they had been freed from bondage. Star-Advertiser.

COVID-19 Crisis Could Derail — Or Bolster — Conservation Efforts. The virus has left environmental funding uncertain, but local groups hope stimulus dollars can create thousands of green jobs. Civil Beat.

DOE Will Share More School Reopening Plans In July. The school superintendent also shared some preliminary results of a parent survey that went out in early June. Civil Beat.

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Hawaii State Department of Health announces 18 new cases of COVID-19 Thursday, June 18. Officials said the surge was expected due to the reopening of the state and the Black Lives Matter protests the first week in June. KHON2.

Hawaii sees spike of 18 new coronavirus cases as statewide total climbs to 762. Star-Advertiser.

18 New Cases, 10 Test Positive At Hale Nani; 2nd Resident Arrested In Quarantine Case. State Epidemiologist Sarah Park said most of the cases are the result of community spread and only a handful have been travel-related. Hawaii Public Radio.

VIRUS TRACKER — JUNE 18: 18 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. All of the new cases were reported on Oahu. Civil Beat.

DOH Reports Largest Daily COVID-19 Spike Since April. Big Island Now.

Oahu

Oahu gyms and fitness centers reopen for those ready to work out. Gyms, yoga studios and fitness clubs on Oahu shuttered since mid-March are allowed to reopen today, along with movie theaters, museums and bars, under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s latest phase of reopening the economy for business. Star-Advertiser.

The new bar experience on Oahu: No live music. No big groups. And temp checks. Friday night on Oahu will be a little bit more normal than it has been for months now: Bars are getting the green light to open. Hawaii News Now.

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Oahu Nursing Home Will Test All Residents And Staff Weekly For COVID-19. Other long-term care facilities in Hawaii are ramping up their testing. Civil Beat.

Cluster of COVID-19 cases at state’s largest nursing home grows to 11 as testing continues. Health experts are increasingly concerned about a growing cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to the state’s largest skilled nursing facility. Hawaii News Now.

Hale Nani Covid cluster rises to 12, contained in one unit. There are seven new Covid cases at Hale Nani Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, bringing the total to 12, eight residents and four workers. KHON2.

Honolulu Police Chief Hopes Nationwide Reform Movement Skips Hawaii. Chief Susan Ballard also told the Honolulu Police Commission that while more bias training would be helpful, Honolulu officers have a “lot less” implicit bias than on the mainland. Civil Beat.

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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell scraps Sherwood Forest plan due to protests. The Sherwood Forest project at Waimanalo has come to an end, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced Thursday. Star-Advertiser.

Caldwell Pulls Plug On Sherwood Forest Project. Community members protested the project for several months in 2019. Civil Beat.

Honolulu mayor cancels controversial Waimanalo development. After years of debate, months of protesting and dozens of arrests, the group “Save Our Sherwoods” is declaring victory. Hawaii News Now.

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Amendments to a plan could create 400-foot towers at Ala Moana Center. Ala Moana Center could become home to some of Honolulu’s tallest hotel and housing towers under a proposal endorsed by city planners. Star-Advertiser.

Iconic retailer Watumull’s to close Ala Moana shop. Watumull’s — one of Oahu’s iconic retailers for visitor-oriented aloha attire and one of the original tenants at Ala Moana Center — is scheduled to close June 30 under the uncertainty of the COVID-19 shutdown and what it means for isle tourism. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

UH Regents Talk Mauna Kea, Approve New MKMB Member. Regents put off any discussion on the internal restructuring proposed for Mauna Kea governance, but the board did approve a new Mauna Kea Management Board member. Big Island Video News.

Public Input Sought On Decommissioning Hōkū Keʻa On Maunakea. SSFM International Inc. has been retained to develop a draft Environmental Assessment and Site Decommissioning Plan for the UH-Hilo telescope. Big Island Video News.

Council to take up new construction code. A comprehensive rewrite of the county building code is heading for its first vetting at a County Council committee after more than a year of tinkering by the county Building Division and various stakeholders. West Hawaii Today.

Maui


Maui Unemployment Rate at 34% in May. Maui’s unemployment rate remains the highest in the state with the state Department of Labor and Industrial relations reporting a 34.5% unemployment rate for Maui Island in May.  That’s slightly down from the 35.7% (non-seasonally adjusted) rate in April, but drastically different than the 2.4% rate at the same time last year. Maui Now.

Affordable housing project mulled for South Maui. Committee discusses plan, defers action on zoning change. Maui News.

Paia bypass hit by funding, EIS setbacks. Reduction in rental car surcharge revenues an issue. Maui News.

Moss completes construction of Maui affordable rental project. Moss Construction recently completed a 120-unit affordable rental project on Maui called Kaiwahine Village, where the first residents moved in last month. Pacific Business News.

Kauai

A phased reopening. Governor David Ige said Thursday he plans to allow indoor gatherings of up to 50 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people on Kaua‘i, and that the whole state could reopen to trans-Pacific travel as early as late July. Garden Island.

Kauai Reports First COVID-19 Case In Nearly 10 Weeks. An adult male resident received a positive test result for COVID-19 on Thursday, according to Kauai health officials. Civil Beat.

Kauai sees its first new COVID-19 case in more than 2 months. The new case is in an adult man who lives on the island, and it wasn’t immediately clear if it was travel-related. Hawaii News Now.

County receives more funds for Pua Loke Affordable Housing.  If all goes according to plan, the Pua Loke Affordable Housing Project will be available for move-in next summer. Garden Island.

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