Monday, April 5, 2021

Vaccine passport coming to Hawaii, coronavirus surge could take Honolulu back to Tier 2, Maui to begin vaccinating 16-year-olds and up, more news from all the Hawaiian Islands


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New CDC Guidance Paves The Way For Hawaii To Implement ‘Vaccine Passports’. Guidance issued Friday by the CDC gives Hawaii the green light to modify the program that lets arriving travelers avoid a 10-day quarantine by showing proof of full vaccination, the program’s author said. Civil Beat. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

Hawaii Parents Say ‘So Far, So Good’ As Schools Push Toward Full Reopening. Schools had to get creative to accommodate more in-person students while maintaining safety protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Civil Beat.

DOE still waiting on funds, approval to address COVID learning loss. Under the state's allotment of the American Rescue Plan funds for education, the department must use 20 percent of the money to mitigate learning loss, or about $78 million. KITV4.

Hawaii lawmakers poised to reform program that allows police to seize cash and cars. Hawaii lawmakers are poised to pass legislation reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture program, which allows law enforcement agencies to seize property, such as cars and cash, that they suspect is connected to criminal activity. Star-Advertiser.

Police reform bills progress in Legislature.
As the 2021 legislative session got underway, lawmakers were facing calls to pass measures aimed at law enforcement reforms largely in response to police-involved shootings and other deadly incidents here and on the mainland. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Data Landscape: Antiquated Infrastructure, Widespread Distrust. New report from the Hawaii Data Collaborative lays out the challenges faced by the state’s data ecosystem and recommendations on how to move forward. Civil Beat.

State unemployment office to offer help via phone or video appointment. Come Monday, April 5, claimants can sign up for an appointment to speak directly with unemployment staff, either by phone or via video. KITV4.

Consumer aid, vaccines keep state bankruptcies declining. Statewide bankruptcies in March declined 4.3% to 135 from 141 in the year- earlier period, according to new data released by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Hawaii. Through the first quarter of the year, filings are down 20% to 318 from 398 at the same time a year ago. Star-Advertiser.

April 4, 2021 COVID-19 Update: The state Department of Health reports that there were 96 additional COVID-19 cases reported in Hawai‘i on Sunday, including 51 on O‘ahu, 26 on Maui, 15 on Hawai‘i Island, and four in Hawai‘i residents diagnosed while out of state. Maui Now.


Oahu moved up to Tier 3 on Feb. 25; the case count has climbed since March. Mayor Rick Blangiardi will likely have a tough decision to make this week when the Wednesday COVID-19 numbers are reported for Oahu. Star-Advertiser. KHON2.

HPD Chief Susan Ballard Is Up For Review This Week. Is She Still Up To The Job?. Four years ago, she was praised for righting a department in turmoil. Now, under fire from critics inside and outside the department, Ballard faces a new assessment from the Honolulu Police Commission. Civil Beat.

Watchdogs question HPD chief’s personal purchases from vendors awarded CARES Act funds.
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard bought personal equipment from companies that her agency awarded CARES Act contracts to, Hawaii News Now has learned. Watchdog groups are calling the purchases a conflict of interest. Hawaii News Now.

Honolulu mulls registering, regulating, short-term vacation rentals. On Oahu, regulation of short-term rentals has been an especially contentious issue, which some hope will soon come to a head — especially given the rebounding market. There’s a chance for both sides to contribute to bringing additional clarity to the issue Tuesday when the city Department of Planning and Permitting holds a public hearing on the draft rules to regulate and register short-term rentals on Oahu. Star-Advertiser.

University of Hawaii study offers ways Honolulu can adapt to rising ocean waters.
Scientists have been warning that Hawaii could face as much as 3 feet of sea level rise over the coming decades, and Honolulu is perhaps the most vulnerable as coastal flooding threatens to force as many as 13,300 people from their homes and cause an estimated $12.9 billion in economic losses. Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

Embattled hotel and condo project near Ala Moana Center hits another major snag. The Hawaii Ocean Plaza — whose plans call for 175 hotel rooms and 216 condos — is part of the city’s transit-oriented development program that allows developers to build more hotel and apartment units. Hawaii News Now.

Remote-working trend for Honolulu employees is here to stay — one year later. More than a year after most companies sent office employees home to work remotely to comply with COVID-19 government mandates, many continue to do so, even as vaccinations are well under way. Star-Advertiser.

Tourism in Waikiki surges, but will it stick? The beaches along world-famous Waikiki on Saturday looked a lot like they did before COVID-19 took hold of the planet: packed. Star-Advertiser.

Hawaii Island

Auditor candidates narrowed to two: County has been without an auditor five months. A County Council subcommittee searching for a county auditor has narrowed the list to two mainland candidates. West Hawaii Today.

Councilman calls for county to curb climbing coverage costs. Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder will introduce a resolution at the County Committee on Governmental Operations, Relations and Economic Development on Tuesday urging the Department of Finance to investigate options to lower home insurance premiums in Lava Zones 1 and 2. Tribune-Herald.

Airport hotel bond bill still alive: Bill would provide up to $50M in revenue bond funding. A bill to issue up to $50 million in revenue bonds for a planned hotel at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport at Keahole continues to make it through the Legislature for a final hearing. West Hawaii Today.

Vaccinating the homeless: Clinics in Hilo, Kona slated for April 14. HOPE Services Hawaii will work with West Hawaii Community Health Center and Bay Clinic to help vaccinate the Big Island’s homeless population. Tribune-Herald.


Maui Health to Expand Vaccine Registration to All Residents 16 and Older Starting Monday, April 5. Maui Health announced this afternoon that it will follow the recent announcement by the Maui District Health Office as well as Hawaiʻi and Kauaʻi counties and expand its vaccine efforts to include registration for all residents ages 16* and older, starting Monday, April 5, 2021. Maui Now.

Want to rent a car? It’ll cost you. High demand and short supply that are causing exorbitant prices for rental autos have also been a boon to locally owned rental car companies on Maui. Maui News.

Maui small businesses have no choice but to change. Economists optimistic for recovery but uncertain over long-lasting damage. Maui News.


Managing feral-cat populations. In fiscal-year 2021, the county allocated $50,000 to feral-cat control. This upcoming fiscal year, the budget proposes $120,000. Garden Island.

Hyatt associates get more food. The Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort &Spa’s lobby fronting the registration desk bustled with activity Thursday during the final food drive for its furloughed associates. Garden Island.

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