Thursday, October 15, 2020

Hawaii opens travel to trans-Pacific flights, Japan flights coming soon; Ige popularity low in poll; $1B hole in Honolulu rail, more state and local news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Hawaiian Airlines plane at airport ©2020 All Hawaii News

Airlines Predict A Long Slow Recovery Even As Tourism Returns. As Hawaii reopens to tourists with a plan that lets travelers sidestep the state’s 14-day quarantine for arrivals, few companies stand to gain more than Hawaiian Airlines. Then again, few have lost more because of the shutdown. Civil Beat.


Japan may join Hawaii COVID-19 pre-travel testing once ‘trusted partners’ picked. Japanese visitors, the state’s top international market, won’t be among the first out-of-state travelers coming to Hawaii through a pre-arrivals testing program on Thursday. But they’ll likely be coming soon. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Approves COVID Test For Japan Travelers. The Hawaii Department of Health is now working with Japanese medical institutions to find “trusted partners” to administer the tests. Civil Beat.

Visitors from Japan approved for state’s pre-travel testing program, too. Visitors from Japan will soon be able to avoid quarantining upon arrival in Hawaii by participating in the state’s pre-travel COVID-19 testing program, state officials said Wednesday. Hawaii News Now.

Green light for travelers from Japan. The executive director of the Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau said the organization Hawaii Tourism Japan “has already got an initial marketing campaign set” for attracting Japanese visitors back to the islands. Tribune-Herald.

Pre-Travel Testing Approved For Japan. Mainlanders will begin returning to Hawai‘i tomorrow with the possibility of a quarantine exemption, and visitors from Japan won’t be far behind. Big Island Now.

Hawai‘i Approves Japan’s Procedure for Pre-Travel Testing Program. Proof of a negative test result from trusted testing partners in Japan will allow travelers from Japan to bypass the 14-day quarantine upon their arrival in Hawai‘i. Maui Now.

Health Department approves Japan’s testing procedure for pre-travel testing program. The Department of Health has approved the COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test authorized by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. KITV4.


State expects 7,000 incoming passengers on first day of traveler testing program. Lt. Gov. Josh Green confirmed the figure Wednesday night and said Hawaii is ready to welcome travelers back. He also asked for patience as the state works some kinks out of the system. Hawaii News Now.

Civil Beat/HNN Poll: Voters Still Sour On Ige And Caldwell. And yet they also believe those very same leaders made the right call on stay-at-home and quarantine orders. Civil Beat.

Auditors find lack of planning, coordination in traveler quarantine program. As the state prepares to launch a traveler testing program Thursday to reboot tourism, a new audit is raising questions about the state’s oversight of its quarantine mandate and how it will be managed once federal funds run out in December. Hawaii News Now.

Surveillance testing for incoming passengers will start as pre-travel testing program launches. Thousands of passengers are expected to come in on Thursday, which is when the state’s pre-travel testing program launches. KHON2.

Here’s what travelers should know about the state’s pre-testing process. If you have not yet booked your flight to Hawaii and want to avoid quarantine, first step is going to HawaiiCOVID19 and check the trusted testing and travel partners page. Hawaii News Now.

Confused About Hawaii's Travel Tests? Hawaii plans to reopen to trans-Pacific travelers without quarantine starting Thursday if the passengers can show a negative COVID-19 test. Hawaii Public Radio.


Up to 65% of Hawaii restaurants could close for good, industry leader warns. That estimate comes from a recent survey by the Hawaii Restaurant Association, which represents the roughly 3,600 restaurants across the state. Star-Advertiser.

As Hawaii prepares to welcome visitors back, 660 airport food service workers laid off. HMSHost, the company that manages the concessions and restaurants at airports, will permanently lay off more than 660 of its employees. That’s more than 80% of concessions staff. The decision impacts airport workers on Oahu, Maui, and Kauai. Hawaii News Now.

More than 600 HMSHost airport workers to be laid off in Hawaii, union says. More than 660 Hawaii airport workers will be permanently laid off Thursday, the same day that the state is reopening to tourism with the launch of a pre-travel testing program after numerous delays, according to union representative UNITE HERE Local 5. Star-Advertiser.

Restaurant card also accepted at bakeries, catering services. Approximately 116,000 residents in Hawaii who filed for unemployment insurance benefits are expected to receive a $500 prepaid debit card beginning Friday to spend at local restaurants, bakeries and catering services. Star-Advertiser.

Gov. David Ige offers clarity to Restaurant Card Program. Gov. David Ige clarified eligibility for a $500 restaurant card and how the state came to that conclusion after the state found out there was much confusion on social media recently. Garden Island.

Qualified residents to begin receiving Hawai‘i restaurant card in the mail beginning October 16. KITV4.

Campaign Spending Commission: Ad Reporting Law Needs Changed. The Campaign Spending Commission levied over $6,900 worth of fines against 20 candidates at a meeting Wednesday. Almost all of the fines came because of a failure to comply with rules over advertising disclosures that many new candidates have found confusing. Civil Beat.

VIRUS TRACKER — Oct. 14: 101 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. The state said 18 cases were on the Big Island and one case was on Maui. One resident was diagnosed out of state. The remaining 81 cases were reported on Oahu. Civil Beat.


Caldwell wants post-travel test for those who don’t get one before arrival. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is proposing an entirely different way to test travelers who want to avoid the state’s 14-day quarantine. He wants to make tests available to those arriving on Oahu if they couldn’t get one before travel. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell questions state’s surveillance testing program. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is questioning the effectiveness of a surveillance testing program meant to be a key safety net in the safe reopening of Hawaii tourism. Star-Advertiser.


Keith Amemiya, Rick Blangiardi trade barbs in KHON debate. During a direct questioning period between the candidates, Blangiardi raised objections to a series of critical campaign ads Amemiya’s campaign has put out against him. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Mayoral Debate feat. Keith Amemiya and Rick Blangiardi.
Honolulu’s next mayor will have the monumental task of handling the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring the safety of nearly one million residents, all while figuring out how to revive Oahu’s economy. KHON2.

Honolulu City Council: Young Legislative Staffers Run To Represent Kalihi Area. The District 7 candidates’ backgrounds, résumés and values are similar. Civil Beat.


Honolulu Rail’s New Budget Hole Estimated At More Than $1 Billion. Project leaders will likely struggle to secure more funding amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Civil Beat.

City’s exit from rail phase equated to a ‘divorce’. Honolulu Councilman Brandon Elefante on Wednesday put the city’s withdrawal from participating in building the final 4.16 miles of the troubled rail project in the terms of a divorce. Star-Advertiser.

Pandemic causes shortage of high-end Oahu rentals.
Kailua is just one of the hot rental markets, so are high end neighborhoods like Lanikai and Kahala, according to Duke Kimhan, the owner of Hawaii Pacific Property Management. KITV4.

Waikiki retailers prep for anticipated bump in business. Businesses in the heart of Hawaii’s tourism hot spot are eagerly awaiting the anticipated bump in tourists come Thursday. It’s been seven months since tourism screeched to an abrupt halt in Waikiki. Hawaii News Now.

Oahu to get 5 new playgrounds; work starts next week in Waimanalo. City officials said construction for new playgrounds at five Oahu parks is underway, with work expected to begin next week at Waimanalo Beach Park. Star-Advertiser.

Mililani Middle to transition onto single-track calendar to address overcrowding. A new three-story building at Mililani Middle School will soon house 15 additional classrooms to help ease overcrowding issues at the nearly 2,000-student campus. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Ready, set, go: A reluctant Mayor Kim opens the island to trans-Pacific travelers. Mayor Harry Kim prefers not to open up the island at all today to trans-Pacific travelers without quarantine, but since he has no choice, he implemented the two-test procedure to reduce the coronavirus infection risk to residents and visitors. West Hawaii Today.

Mayor Kim Questioned On Inter-Island Travel Status. Mayor Harry Kim went before the Hawaiʻi County Council on Wednesday to clear up confusion in regard to Thursday’s start of the pre-travel testing program in Hawaiʻi. Big Island Video News.

How post-arrival testing will be conducted at Hilo airport. Trans-Pacific travelers to Hilo should expect a relatively smooth arrival as the county implements post-flight COVID-19 tests at Hilo International Airport. Tribune-Herald.

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park ready for influx; Improvements to park made during pandemic. With the state loosening travel restrictions for trans-Pacific travelers today, the Big Island’s most popular tourist destination is preparing for an increase of visitors. Tribune-Herald.


Drop your ballot here. There are 12 drop-off boxes countywide, and voters may drop off their ballots through 7 p.m. Election Day, Nov. 3. Maui News.

Post-travel testing options are permitted by state. Maui County officials Tuesday afternoon branded their pre- and post-travel testing programs as “Arrive Healthy, Stay Healthy and Return Home Healthy” as the state prepares for an influx of travelers beginning Thursday. Maui News.


Meet the Candidates: Arryl Kaneshiro. Growing up on Kaua‘i, incumbent Kaua‘i County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro said there was always a desire to live up to expectations. Garden Island.

Kaua‘i starts its reopening on Tier 4. 
Mayor Derek Kawakami is urging residents to wear masks as the state makes its long-awaited reopening to trans-Pacific travelers. Garden Island.


Hawaiian Telcom Expands Fiber Broadband Service on Moloka‘i. Hawaiian Telcom has expanded its fiber broadband service to nearly 700 new homesteads in East and North Central Moloka‘i, according to the company’s news release. Maui Now.


Lanai Oil Company agrees to $71K EPA fine for Clean Water Act violations.
The Lanai Oil Company Inc. has agreed to pay a penalty of $71,166 as part of a settlement for Clean Water Act violations at its bulk oil storage facility on the island, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Star-Advertiser.

EPA Requires Lanai Oil Co. To Protect Hawaiian Waterways from Oil Spills
in Proposed Settlement. Under the agreement, Lanai Oil is required to pay a penalty of $71,166. EPA believes the penalty will reduce the risk of oil spills from their Lanai Oilʻs terminal to Lanai’s Kaumalapau Harbor and the Pacific Ocean. Maui Now.


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