Tuesday, October 20, 2020

More than 26% of Hawaii voters have already voted, Kauai restaurants bar tourists from dining rooms, tsunami advisory lifted, DOE revamps school reopening plans, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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 In Hawaii, Your Ballot Has To Be In By 7 p.m. On Election Day. Eighteen other states will still accept a ballot if it’s postmarked by Election Day. More than 900 ballots were not counted during the August primary in Hawaii because of a state law that sets a hard deadline of 7 p.m. on Election Day to return ballots. Civil Beat.

Over 221,000 ballots received prior to opening of voter service centers.
As of Monday, elections officials said over 188,000 ballots on Oahu alone have been received. At last check, over 221,000 were received statewide. Officials say that equals a 26.6% turnout so far. Hawaii News Now.


Tsunami advisory for Hawaii canceled after small waves from large Alaskan quake reach islands. Scientists watching the gauges in Hawaii determined the wave heights, though small, were of advisory level in some north-facing harbors, including Kahului (15 inches) and Hilo (12 inches) harbors, and issued a tsunami advisory after the fact. Star-Advertiser.


Ige: Interisland travel could open by end of year. Gov. David Ige said during a news conference Monday that he believes the state may be able to resume unrestricted interisland travel by the end of the year if the number of daily COVID-19 cases continues to drop. Tribune-Herald.

30% of those hospitalized in Hawaii for coronavirus have been under 50. Of the nearly 900 people in the islands who have required hospitalization for COVID-19, about 30% were younger than 50 at the time they were admitted. The statistic underscores what health officials have been trying to drive home: While seniors are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 symptoms, the virus can also land younger people in the hospital. Hawaii News Now.

Travelers with negative COVID results are still forced to quarantine. These travelers said it’s because they’re not able to upload their negative results to the state’s Safe Travels App. KHON2.

Renters In Hawaii Are Struggling. So Are Their Landlords. As tenants fall behind on rent and units sit vacant, some landlords are looking to sell. Civil Beat.


Hawaii Health Department updates guidance for schools reopening. The Department of Health released updated guidance for public and private schools Monday that aligns better with the new tiered reopening plans at the county level as well as federal guidelines. Star-Advertiser.

DOH Releases New Guidance For Reopening Schools. The updated metrics come a month after initial guidelines were first issued. Those were met by pushback from the teachers union. Civil Beat.

New COVID-19 Guidance For Hawaiʻi Schools Released. The health department released the revamped guidance to schools after its first version was heavily criticized by union officials. Big Island Video News.

In fresh effort to reopen campuses, state again revises COVID-19 guidance for schools. As the state begins to transition its focus from reopening to tourists to reopening public school campuses, the Department of Health on Monday released a new set of metrics designed to guide the Education Department’s decision making about when students can return to campus. Hawaii News Now.

Department of Health updates COVID-19 guidance for schools. In a matter of weeks, many public schools will begin bringing students back to campus. KHON2.

DOH releases new guidance to help schools safely transition between learning models. Monday, the state Department of Health released updated guidance to elementary, middle and high schools in order to help school administrators make decisions to safely transition between different models of learning. KITV4.


“Talent Roadmap” Declares: Now is the Time to Reinvent Hawaiʻi’s Economy. Enhancing workforce development is the starting point, according to a report from the Hawaiʻi Executive Collaborative, which is based on input from almost 200 people. Hawaii Business magazine.

Building Hawaiʻi’s Technology Sector.
Paul Yonamine, CHANGE Economy Committee co-chair and member of the TRUE Committee, says Hawai‘i’s public and private organizations are late adopters of information technology. Hawaii Business magazine.


State matches $500,000 donation to SNAP program for purchase of locally grown food. The state will match a $500,000 donation to a program that doubles the value of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits spent on locally grown food at participating grocery stores, according to Gov. David Ige. Star-Advertiser.

DA BUX food program receives $1M in virus aid. A state food stamp program has temporarily expanded its range of available products for participants struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tribune-Herald.

State, Private-Sector Partner to Double Food Bucks to Help Families, Local Agriculture. The State of Hawai‘i will match a donation of half a million dollars from a hui of private-sector organizations toward the DA BUX Double Up Food Bucks program. Big Island Now.


VIRUS TRACKER — Oct. 19: 39 New COVID-19 Cases In Hawaii. It’s been nearly two months since Hawaii’s daily COVID-19 case count dropped below 50. Civil Beat.


COVID-19 Recovery, Rail, Budget Crisis Face Incoming Honolulu City Council. Voters will fill three of the nine Honolulu City Council seats in the November 3rd general election. Two candidates have already won in the primary. Hawaii Public Radio.

Since tourism relaunch, police have issued 4,500 warnings for violating COVID-19 orders. Thousands of visitors to Oahu have been warned or cited for not wearing masks or failing to social distance. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu: You Need To Wear Masks Outside, Even With Your Own Family. The little-known rule might be changing as soon as this week. But for now, you risk a citation if you’re gathering with household members without a mask. Civil Beat. 

Some visitors still confused about O'ahu's mask mandate. "So it's incumbent on the visitor industry if they want to spread aloha, they have to make sure their guests are following all the required rules," Mayor Caldwell said. KITV4.


Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announces new COVID-19 isolation and quarantine facilities in Waikiki. The City & County of Honolulu is reserving as many as 221 rooms at the Park Shore Waikiki and is leasing the 46-room Waikiki Beachside Hostel to quarantine and isolate Oahu residents who contract or were exposed to COVID-19. Star-Advertiser.

Honolulu Secures Two Waikiki Properties For COVID-19 Isolation.
First responders and homeless people are among those who will benefit from the isolation facilities, city officials said. Civil Beat.

City secures two Waikiki hotels as quarantine locations. Honolulu has secured 221 rooms at the Park Shore Hotel, along with 46 apartment units at the Waikiki Beachside, for a total of 452 quarantine rooms. Pacific Business News.

Honolulu City Council bill mandates hotel employee callback rules. Oahu hotel operators hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic are crying foul at a Honolulu City Council bill that would dictate to the managers which employees could be brought back to work as their facilities slowly reopen. Star-Advertiser.

Residents optimistic about state’s economic recovery, Hawaii Poll shows. Many Oahu residents are more optimistic than Hawaii experts about when the state economy will return to normal, a new poll suggests. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Poll says Oahu voters overwhelmingly prefer Joe Biden over Donald Trump in U.S. presidential race. Vice President Joe Biden received 58% support from Oahu voters in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Hawaii Poll, while President Donald Trump received 29%. Star-Advertiser.

Convicted ex-prosecutor wants phone hearings during pandemic. A former high-ranking Honolulu prosecutor who is in jail while awaiting sentencing for a conspiracy conviction in Hawaii’s largest corruption case wants to participate in hearings for a lawsuit her uncle filed against her by telephone because of the pandemic. Associated Press.

A church manager for a Filipino televangelist was sentenced Monday for lying about a suitcase that contained hidden cash. Felina Salinas will spend 30 days in prison for the crime, after she attempted to board a private jet with pastor Apollo Quibiloy in 2018. That’s when she told federal agents a suitcase about to be loaded was hers. It turned out that the case hid more than $300,000. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii Island

Hawai'i Island voter receives ballots for dead person, former resident.
With election day right around the corner, some Hawai'i voters are continuing to question the state's vote by mail system. KITV4.

Big Island judge earns 2020 Champion for Social Justice Award. After working nearly seven years as a prosecutor at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, it would be understandable if Cynthia Tai wanted to kick back, relax and take it easy for a while. West Hawaii Today.

Week Without Violence underway; selfie lovers have a chance to take part today. Hawaii Island residents today can let victims and survivors of sexual violence know they have the community’s support as well as help to raise awareness to end violence against women and girls globally by taking part in YWCA’s a Week Without Violence selfie campaign. West Hawaii Today.


Maui County Travel Update: 2,447 Average Daily Arrivals Over First Four Days Since Reopening. Maui County saw average daily arrivals jump to 2,447 in the first four days since the state launched it’s pre-travel COVID-19 testing program on Oct. 15.  That’s up from the average daily 530 travelers logged in the 12 days prior between Oct. 3 and 14, before the reopening program took effect; but less than half of the 5,590 average daily domestic arrivals reported in Maui County over the same four days last year. Maui Now.

State announces testing partners in the islands to handle intercounty travel. Quarantine still in effect for arrivals without a negative test result from approved lab. Maui News.

Avoiding a guilty plea, trial possible for former Maui officer in wire fraud case. A former Maui police officer accused of trying to coerce a woman into having sex may now have a trial after not entering a guilty plea with the court. Brandon Saffeels allegedly sent text messages and made phone calls telling a woman he could make her DUI go away if she spent time with him. Hawaii News Now.

Hawai‘i REALTORS® Donate PPE and Cleaning Supplies to Maui Schools. On Maui, REALTORS® donated 2,500 face masks and 910 face shields to Maui High School, and 35 touchless soap dispensers, 148 AA batteries and 27 soap refill containers to Waihe‘e Elementary School. Maui Now.


2 Kauai restaurants ban tourists from dining rooms. Two restaurants on the north shore of Kauai have posted social media notices that they won’t be serving visitors, who arrive through the state’s pre-arrivals testing program, in their dining rooms. Star-Advertiser.

Saenz Ohana Breakfast draws ire trying to be safe. The decision to allow visitors to only order online and pick up while serving residents with a Hawai’i identification in person has created a lightning rod of controversy on social media for one Kaua’i food truck. Garden Island.

Some Kauai eateries are asking recent travelers to not dine-in. Saenz Ohana Breakfast food truck on Kauai made a post that has gotten some mixed reactions. But the business owner said it all comes down to safety and protecting his family, community and others. KHON2.

Post arrival testing program for residents kicks off on Kaua'i. A post arrival testing program for residents kicked-off at the War Memorial Convention Hall on Kaua'i on Monday. KITV4.

County revising $261.1 million operating budget. Because of the combination of withheld state taxes and retroactive salary raises, the county is considering several steps to balance its $261.1 million operating budget. Garden Island.


Billionaire’s greenhouse now exporting produce statewide. A pioneering hydroponic greenhouse farm on Lanai established by tech billionaire Larry Ellison has begun to export produce statewide. Star-Advertiser.

Lana'i has its own COVID-19 rapid test machine. An anonymous donor made it possible for Lana'i to have its own COVID-19 rapid test machine that's supposed to deliver results within 15 minutes. KITV4.

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