Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Hawaii tries to work out tourist testing, braces for July 4 crowds, Hana Highway to remain closed, newspaper jobs cut in union deal, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Waikiki Aquarium ©2020 All Hawaii News
The Waikiki Aquarium reopened on Monday with new safety measures like barriers and face mask requirements in place. KITV4.


Gov. David Ige says Hawaii will be ready for tourists on Aug. 1. Gov. David Ige said Monday that Hawaii will be ready by Aug. 1 to implement the passenger testing program that would allow out-of-state travelers to bypass the 14-day quarantine, despite the concerns of some local residents and the rising coronavirus cases. Star-Advertiser.

The plan for testing visitors is still murky, but bookings are already coming in. Visitors are booking vacations to Hawaii in August ― when changes to the 14-day quarantine go into effect ― even without a clear state plan being released. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii officials discuss return of travelers, strain on resources. With the state planning to loosen quarantine restrictions on out-of-state travelers in August, state lawmakers are concerned about an influx of travelers burdening the state’s COVID-19 monitoring systems. Tribune-Herald.

As some states roll back reopening plans, some Hawaii residents get nervous. The coronavirus case count is more than 2.6 million and climbing in the U.S. That's making some people in Hawaii nervous as the state plans to restart tourism in about a month. Hawaii News Now.

July 4 during a pandemic: Events are canceled, but beaches won’t be empty. Many fireworks displays and other activities marking Independence Day have been canceled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the U.S. Coast Guard and other first responders are still preparing for an active holiday weekend. Hawaii News Now.

Officials urge caution, vigilance against COVID-19 as July 4 holiday looms. Wary of a potential surge in coronavirus cases, state and county leaders Monday warned people to be extra careful during the upcoming Fourth of July weekend to guard against the kind of reckless behavior that could lead to further spread of COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

State and counties warn to keep up COVID-19 precautions over 4th of July weekend. State and county officials are warning people to take extra precautions over the Fourth of July weekend. KHON2.

Marketing Hawaii takes on new message amid COVID-19. Chris Tatum, Hawaii Tourism Authority CEO, told a special state House committee Monday that the Hawaii Visitors &Convention Bureau is drafting a preliminary plan for the industry to ensure travelers know about the new coronavirus safety requirements for incoming travelers announced Wednesday by Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

Tourism is on life support as visitor arrival numbers for May plunge. Visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands fell by a dramatic 98.9% in May compared with a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary statistics from the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Star-Advertiser.


State Teachers Union, DOE Agree To Reopening Terms. The framework includes basic safeguards for health and safety and instructional and training time. Civil Beat.

Guidelines Set to Reopen In-Person Instruction at Hawai‘i Public Schools. A picture of public education in the COVID-19 era has developed as part of an agreement reached over the weekend, which will allow in-person instruction to resume in Fall 2020. Big Island Now.

Agreement between teacher’s union and Board of Education outlines changes to upcoming school year. The Memorandum of Understanding covers some safety measures for the next school year on a number of issues such as teachers who are at-risk from COVID-19. KHON2.


Lawmakers Weighing Additional Short-Term Rental Regulation. Short-term vacation rentals in Hawaiʻi may be reopening to more regulation under COVID-19. Hawaii Public Radio.

Bill would permit homeless camps on state land. House Finance Committee members on Monday signed off on a gut-and-replace bill that would allow the state to issue temporary revocable leases for emergency homeless camps on state land amid the COVID-19 pandemic. West Hawaii Today.

Unemployment office changes call center hours while new issues delay payments. Those unemployed and still waiting for benefits are encountering another issue with the state Department of Labor: The call-in center hours have changed. Hawaii News Now.

$54 Million To Help Hawaii K-12 Schools Support low Income Students. 97,000 students in Hawaiʻi are expected to benefit from this new funding, says U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. Big Island Video News.

A New Direction For The Hawaii Supreme Court? Gov. David Ige will get a chance to name a new member to the state’s highest court with the retirement of Richard Pollack. Civil Beat.

Hawaiian Electric delays disconnections through Sept. 1. Hawaiian Electric will extend the moratorium on disconnections for nonpayment through Sept. 1, and urges customers who are having difficulty paying their bill to contact the company well before that time to consider payment options. Star-Advertiser.

EPA fines Hawaii library system $144K for cesspool violations. The Hawaii State Public Library System is seeking authority from state lawmakers to pay the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nearly $144,000 in penalties for its continued use of large-­capacity cesspools that were banned in 2005. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii sees 2 new coronavirus cases as statewide total infections hit 900. Hawaii recorded two new coronavirus cases today as the statewide total number of infections since the start of the outbreak rose to 900, state Department of Health officials said in their daily midday count. Star-Advertiser.

JUNE 29: 2 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. Civil Beat.


Racial Disparities Emerge In HPD Enforcement Of Stay-At-Home Violations. Honolulu police officers arrested Micronesians, Samoans and Blacks for violating the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in marked disproportion to their representation in the general population. Hawaii Public Radio.

Honolulu Fire Chief’s Plan For A New Rescue Unit Ignites Controversy. All six rescue captains are protesting, accusing the chief of retaliation against them. Civil Beat.


Oahu Transit Services to check temperatures of all city bus drivers after one falls ill with COVID-19. Oahu Transit Services plans to start thermal temperature screening of all its drivers Thursday after one of them tested positive for the new coronavirus Saturday. Star-Advertiser.

City To Start Daily Temperature Checks Of All Bus Drivers. Plans for new mass-testing protocols were ramped up after a driver tested positive over the weekend. Civil Beat.

Daily screenings will now be routine for Honolulu city bus drivers. The city bus driver who tested positive for COVID-19 drove on five routes last week. Hawaii News Now.

City bus drivers to get Covid tests and daily temperature screening. City bus drivers will get tested for Covid-19 and have their temperature screened daily before each shift. It’s a new policy after a driver kept driving the bus even though he was already feeling ill. KHON2.

Changes are coming on TheBus after a driver tested positive for COVID-19. Starting Thursday, temperature checks are required for all Oahu Transit Services employees. KITV4.


Funding could save a program helping women transition to post-prison life. The House Finance Committee announced Monday it will restore funding to the Oahu YWCA’s Fernhurst program. Hawaii News Now.

Star-Advertiser, union reach agreement on staff cuts. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s management and newsroom workers have reached an agreement that combines voluntary staff departures and furloughs to achieve savings to help the newspaper navigate the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser To Lose 12 Journalists. Twelve journalists at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser will be laid off as the company grapples with advertising losses brought on by the pandemic, the staff announced on the newspaper’s website on Monday. Civil Beat.

Hawaii Island

Ka Lamaku’s first residents expected to move in today. On Monday, HOPE Services workers spent the afternoon under the blazing sun outfitting the 18 tiny homes constructed earlier this month at Hawaii County’s Old Kona Airport Park with move-in kits, including storage containers, buckets and coolers, to welcome the shelter’s first occupants. West Hawaii Today.

County To Take Over State’s Keaʻau Armory. The Hawai‘i Army National Guard's Starbase Program will continue to use the future parks facility until another site can be found. Big Island Video News.

Naming of Fissure 8 put on hold. The naming of the most prominent new geographical feature to emerge from the 2018 Kilauea eruption has been postponed indefinitely. Tribune-Herald.

M. Sakado store in Laupahoehoe closing after 79 years. A long-standing convenience store will be closing its doors for good in Laupahoehoe. Tribune-Herald.


Mayor to Seek Extension of Hāna Highway Closure. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino will send a letter to the governor this morning, requesting at least a two week extension on the Hāna Highway road closure between Kapakalua Road and Hāna Town. Maui Now.

Maui’s mayor urges Gov. Ige to delay reopening Hana Highway. Maui County’s mayor sent a letter to Governor David Ige on Monday, urging him to delay the full reopening of the road to Hana for at least two weeks. Hawaii News Now.

Zoom discussion planned for Tuesday. Maui County will share its draft Hazard Mitigation Plan with the public via Zoom from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday. The plan includes topics such as strengthening school buildings to serve as shelters during hurricanes, adding generators to critical facilities for backup power and developing tsunami evacuation routes. Maui News.

Maui Extends Waiver of Fees for County Bills Paid Online and at Self-Service Terminals. Maui Mayor Michael Victorino announced today that the County of Maui will be extending its waiver of credit card convenience fees for online payments of County bills and self-service (kiosks) for motor vehicle registration renewals. Maui Now.

Visitor Arrivals to Maui Decreased 98.4% in May 2020. In May 2020, visitor arrivals to the Hawaiian Islands decreased 98.9 percent compared to a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to preliminary statistics released today by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority’s, Tourism Research Division. Maui Now.

Over 400 gather to March for Change. Two Mauians organize Sunday’s Black Lives Matters procession down Kaahumanu Ave. to UH-Maui College. Maui News.


Airbnb Agrees To Drop Illegal Kauai Vacation Rentals. Kauai County forged a similar partnership with the vacation rental platform Vrbo last week. The deals are expected to help the county to enforce vacation rental rules. Civil Beat.

Airbnb agrees to remove rentals without tax map key on Kauai.  On Kauai, Mayor Derek Kawakami and Airbnb reached an agreement Monday to help the county enforce short term rental laws. KHON2.

The current cluster of cases on the Garden Isle are the result of large gatherings. Kaua'i Mayor Derek Kawakami reports the last 15 cases come from three separate households and all of the people were connected in some way. KITV4.

‘Letting the kids be kids’. The Boys & Girls Club added a satellite site when the summer program opened, Monday at its three main sites — the Kapa‘a Clubhouse, the Lihu‘e Clubhouse, the West Kaua‘i Clubhouse, and the new satellite site at the Kukui Grove Center. Garden Island.


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