Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Hawaii governor holds fast on travel testing requirements, surfing contests canceled, only 500,000 COVID vaccinations expected through May, Maui beach closed after naked, mask-less parties, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands

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Ige has no plans to ease testing rules for visitors, despite calls to do so from tourism industry. With Hawaii’s visitor industry slow to rebound, tourism and business leaders are asking the state to modify its pre-travel testing program to make it easier for visitors to come. The response from the governor so far: That’s not going to happen. Hotel industry officials said the recent surge of the virus on the mainland has made it difficult for many travelers to get tested. Hawaii News Now.

State has no plans to change the Safe Travels Program until the CDC releases further guidance. Right now the state has no plans to change the Safe Travels Program at least not until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention releases new guidelines for travelers who have been vaccinated. KITV4.

The Continuing Clout Of Hawaii’s Public Worker Unions. Pushing back against Gov. David Ige’s threatened furloughs, government worker unions showed they still have ample political influence despite a 2018 Supreme Court decision some said would weaken the organizations. Civil Beat.

Citing concerns about crowds, state suspends surf contests in Hawaii until further notice. Citing health and safety concerns caused by the pandemic, the state pulled the plug on all surf contests Tuesday until further notice. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii facing largest recession in history. Hawaii's state economist believes it will be years before the negative financial effects of the pandemic disappear, even though conditions are expected to dramatically improve later this year. KITV4.


Hawaii seniors, front-line workers next in line for COVID-19 vaccine shots. Hawaii has administered roughly a third of the nearly 83,000 COVID-19 vaccination doses the state has received so far. Star-Advertiser.

State Details List Of Who’s Next In Line For COVID-19 Vaccine.
State officials said Tuesday they’re starting to offer COVID-19 vaccines to people older than 75 and a long list of essential workers, including child care workers, teachers and first responders as part of a newly refined Phase 1b. Civil Beat.

State to expand eligibility for COVID vaccine to those 75 and up, more essential workers. The state is preparing to launch a significant new phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution, opening up eligibility to those 75 and older along with a host of essential workers ― from teachers to those who work on utilities to corrections officers. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii begins second round of vaccinations for healthcare workers. It has been 21 days since the first COVID-19 vaccine was administered in Hawaii and hospitals on Oahu are beginning to administer the second dose to healthcare workers to build-up protection against the virus. KHON2.

The state describes next phase of Hawaii's COVID-19 vaccination plan. Governor David Ige on Tuesday said more people in the state need to get vaccinated. KITV4.

Rollout of COVID vaccine for general population eyed for May. State officials hope to administer more than 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine throughout Hawaii by the end of May. Tribune-Herald.

Hawai‘i Vaccine Program Soon Available to Expanded Groups. High-ranking government and health officials convened in Honolulu Tuesday to detail the plan as it is outlined over the next several weeks, making two primary requests of the public during that time. Big Island Now.

Vaccination Update: Details on Rollout Outlined. Governor David Ige provided an update today on the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts saying healthcare workers, residents and staff at nursing homes are currently getting vaccinated. Maui Now.

Air Force C-17 delivers vaccinations to National Guard troops. Hundreds of Hawaii National Guard personnel with the joint task force responding to COVID-19 are getting vaccinated, with some on neighbor islands receiving the Pfizer vaccine Tuesday from the back of a C-17 cargo aircraft during a brief stop. Star-Advertiser.


As teachers look ahead to vaccinations, thousands of students return to classrooms. In-person learning resumed Tuesday for many schools across the state. The state Department of Education said the maximum capacity is 50% at one time on campus, but many schools put a cap even lower. Hawaii News Now.

Hawaii will need to pay $59 million in interest to cover unemployment. Hawaii continues to borrow from the U.S. Treasury Department to cover island unemployment claims but has not figured out how to cover $59.8 million in interest payments that will come due. Star-Advertiser.

Proposed State Budget Would Cut 30% From Sex Abuse Treatment Funding. Lawmakers were briefed Tuesday on some ugly proposed state budget reductions, including a plan to cut $1.4 million from treatment services to sexual assault victims over the next two years, and another that would “eviscerate” state enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. Civil Beat.

Unidentified GIs who died in Philippines returned to Hawaii. The remains of some U.S. military personnel who died during World War II and were buried anonymously in the Philippines have been returned to Hawaii to try to determine their identities. Star-Advertiser.

HAWAII VIRUS TRACKER — Jan. 5: 124 New COVID-19 Cases. Health officials reported 124 new COVID-19 cases statewide on Tuesday, including 74 on Oahu, 21 on Maui, 12 on the Big Island, one on Kauai, and 16 state residents diagnosed out of state. Civil Beat.


Caldwell’s Top Aide Lands City Council Gig To Cash In On Retirement Benefits. The six-month job will set up former city Managing Director Roy Amemiya for benefits he can access for the rest of his life. Civil Beat.


Kapiolani Medical Center nurses to take strike vote. Nurses at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women &Children said they will take a strike authorization vote beginning Thursday after nearly five months of trying to negotiate a new contract with the hospital. Star-Advertiser.

Kapiolani Medical Center nurses faced with decision on whether or not to strike. Nurses will vote Thursday on whether or not they will strike in the middle of a pandemic. Hawaii News Now.


Natalie Iwasa Joins The HART Board. The government-spending watchdog and frequent rail critic known as “Bike Mom” will lend an independent voice, the House Speaker said. Civil Beat.

City and County of Honolulu participates in 2020 National Community Survey. This year’s survey includes questions about the quality of life, city services, policies and management of the City and County of Honolulu, as well as opinions on issues pertinent to O'ahu residents. KITV4.

Hawaii Island

Council confirmations: Rodenhurst squeaks through first step; Kern postponed. Mayor Mitch Roth’s pick for Public Works director squeaked through a sometimes tense confirmation hearing Tuesday after more than two hours of grilling by a split County Council panel. West Hawaii Today.


State: ‘Kanaka garden’ at Wailoa park must be removed by 5 p.m. today. The state set a 5 p.m. deadline today for activists who have taken over a portion of Wailoa River Recreation Area in Hilo and planted a “kanaka garden” — as was done in 2012 and 2013 — to remove the plantings and other items or have them hauled away by Department of Land and Natural Resources enforcement officers. Tribune-Herald.

State, Hawaiian Sovereignty Activists Square Off at Wailoa State Park. A showdown is brewing between a group of Hawaiian sovereignty activists and the state of Hawai‘i at the Wailoa River State Recreation Area. Big Island Now.

DLNR orders activists occupying Hilo’s Wailoa River State Park to clear out. A group of activist claiming jurisdiction of a portion of land within Hilo’s Wailoa River State Park have been ordered by the DLNR to vacate the area.  Hawaii News Now.


No decisions yet about how UH-Hilo will address governor’s proposed $5.7M budget cut. While some short-term cost-saving measures have already been implemented, University of Hawaii at Hilo administrators say no decisions have been made about how the campus will address a $5.7 million budget cut proposed by Gov. David Ige. Tribune-Herald.

University of Hawaii vog forecast program reports on latest Kilauea eruption. If you’re wondering whether vog from Kilauea Volcano will be headed to your neighborhood in the next couple of days, or you want real-time air quality on Hawaii island, then the Vog Measurement and Prediction Project can help. Star-Advertiser.


State shuts down Little Beach over big, maskless parties. After social media posts showing 400 people without masks partying Sunday at Little Beach in Makena, the state decided to shut down the area, known for drum circles, nudity, illegal alcohol and other illicit substances. Maui News.

Pu‘u Ola‘i “Little Beach” at Mākena State Park to Close Temporarily. State officials are implementing an immediate closure of Puʻu Olaʻi “Little Beach,” at Mākena State Park on Maui following reports on Sunday of beach parties with drum circles, nudity, illegal alcohol and other illicit substances, coupled with hundreds of mask-less people in close contact with one another. Maui Now.

State officials shut down Puu Olai Beach, also known as Little Beach, at Makena State Park due to large crowds with maskless dancers, blatant nudity. Officials said that social media posts from last Sunday show an estimated 400 people on the beach, dancing and participating in drum circles without masks. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Closes Beach On Maui After Large Mask-Less Parties. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the parties at Puu Olai beach included nude people dancing in drum circles. Civil Beat.


Mayor’s office employee has COVID-19, county says. The employee is asymptomatic and last worked in the Kalana O Maui county building Thursday. Maui News.

Maui mayor not exposed to COVID-19 after employee in his office tests positive. An employee in the Maui mayor’s office has tested positive for COVID-19, but officials said Tuesday the mayor was not exposed. Hawaii News Now.

Maui County staff member tests positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. One of Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino's staff members tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend. KITV4.


Kawakami shares 2021 goals, pandemic thoughts.
Mayor Derek Kawakami sat down with The Garden Island to discuss reopening, economic recovery, and 2021 goals for his administration. Garden Island.

Marriott changing ownership, 457 laid off. Essex House Condominium Corporation, which operates as the Kaua‘i Marriott Resort &Beach Club, will cease operations in March. Garden Island.

New produce program launched. A Kaua‘i nonprofit, The MonkeyPod, launched their Kauai CSA (community-supported agriculture) Initiative box pick-up location in the middle of last month, at The Local Beet in Koloa. Garden Island.


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