(BIVN) – Today is the first day of Governor David Ige’s proclamation requiring all incoming passengers to the state of Hawaiʻi to quarantine in their lodges for a period of 14 days. Returning Hawaiʻi residents are being allowed to quarantine at their homes.
UPDATE (12:30 p.m.) – The number of COVID-19 cases has increased by 11 statewide, bringing the total number in Hawaiʻi to 106. The numbers, presented by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health in yet another new format, show that the Big Island has not identified any new cases. The cumulative total for Hawaiʻi County holds at 5.
Hawaii County Civil Defense: 3 “Active” Cases
… the number of the active cases for Hawaii Island, remains at 3. Active cases are those who were confirmed having that virus and are quarantined and being monitored by the Department of Health. The Department of Health reports that at this date for Hawaii Island no one had to be hospitalized.
U.S. Senate Passes $2 Trillion CARES Act, $1.2 Billion For Hawai‘i
On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate voted to pass the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. According to the office of U.S. Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaiʻi), this “wide-ranging legislation will inject $2 trillion into boosting funding to our medical system, providing economic support to workers, small businesses, and state and local governments that are bearing the brunt of the necessary but difficult measures being put in place to combat the coronavirus.”
“This legislation, while not perfect, is an ambitious effort to bolster our health care system, provide much-needed relief to workers and families across the country, and support small businesses in our communities,” said Sen. Hirono. “I encourage the House of Representatives to join us in passing this urgently-needed legislation, and for the President to sign it as soon as possible.”
The bipartisan deal – the largest emergency relief package in American history, according to the office of U.S. Senator Brian Schatz – includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i, and aid for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers.
“This deal will provide federal money to help Hawai‘i families and small businesses, and give our hospitals, clinics, and health care providers resources to fight this outbreak,” said Senator Schatz. “While we still have more work to do, help is on the way.”
According to Sen. Schatz, the key provisions in the deal include:
Hospitals and health care workers – provides more than $130 billion to help hospitals, nursing homes, health centers, and health care workers across the country.
- Billions for personal and protective equipment for health care workers, testing supplies, increased workforce and training, new construction to house patients, an increase of the Strategic National Stockpile, medical research into COVID-19 and Medicare payment increases to all hospitals and providers.
Unemployment assistance – provides $260 billion to help those who have lost their jobs or are experiencing reduced incomes.
- Available to self-employed individuals, part-time workers, independent contractors, and gig workers, including ride-sharing drivers.
- Covers those who are sick, quarantined, furloughed, or whose family circumstances keep them from working or reduce their pay as a result of the coronavirus outbreak or government containment efforts.
- Aid will cover salaries up to about $65,000 for 4 months.
At least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i – funding to the state and county governments that will help pay for Hawai‘i’s response efforts.
Direct cash payments – provides a one-time cash payment to millions of Americans.
- Individuals will get $1,200 (joint filers get $2,400) plus $500 per child.
- Benefits start to phase out for those with incomes exceeding $150,000 for married couples, $75,000 for singles, and $112,500 for single parents.
- Payments will not go to single filers earning more than $99,000; head-of-household filers with one child, more than $146,500; and more than $198,000 for joint filers with no children.
Small businesses and non-profits – provides $377 billion for small employers, including restaurants, hotels, and non-profits.
- $350 billion in partially forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits to maintain existing workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
- $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
- $17 billion for SBA to cover 6 months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
Large employers – provides $500 billion to keep the biggest employers, including airlines, and their workers on the job.
- Protects collective bargaining agreements and prevents employers from firing employees.
- Extends health care benefits for airline contract workers.
- Prohibits stock buybacks or dividends for the length of any loan provided by the Treasury plus one year.
- Restricts increases to pay for top executives.
Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) successfully secured debt relief for Hawaii small businesses in the third coronavirus recovery package. The package includes provisions from the Small Business Debt Relief Act, which Senator Hirono introduced last week with Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) to temporarily cover small business loan payments for existing 7(a) and 504 loans backed by the Small Business Administration (SBA).
“During this difficult time, local small businesses need to be able to rely on the federal government while they work to adapt to the short- and long-term consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. This third package includes essential provisions to keep Hawaii small businesses afloat through existing SBA programs. I will continue to advocate for provisions in future bills to bolster our nation and Hawaii’s small businesses,” Senator Hirono said.
DOBOR Restrooms Reopen Statewide
The Hawaiʻi DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation made this announcement on Wednesday:
Effective now, all DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) restrooms statewide at State small boat harbors and boat ramps will be reopening, to observe CDC guidance for ensuring availability of toilets and hand washing facilities for people experiencing homelessness during this COVID-19 emergency. All DOBOR restroom facilities will be open continuously seven days a week until further notice.
Hawaiʻi DOT Special Use Lanes Stop
From the Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation:
In accordance with Governor Ige’s Stay at Home and Work from Home orders and considering the decreased volumes on Hawaii roads, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division will be suspending operation of the State’s special use lanes beginning Wednesday, March 25.
Special use lanes are contraflow or High Occupancy Vehicles (HOV) lanes designed to reduce congestion by adding capacity or encouraging carpooling. A statewide list of the special use lanes on state highways can be found [here].
HDOT initially announced that these lanes would remain in operation in a news release on the closure of its public offices on March 19. We initially planned to keep these services ongoing during the COVID-19 emergency to support those that use the lanes as well as the contractors operating these lanes.
During the suspension of special use lane operations, the Zipper lane contractor on Oahu will be performing maintenance on the Zip mobile and barrier that may require intermittent closures of the H-1 westbound lanes used for the Zipper lane.
HDOT Highways remains committed to maintaining and improving the highways system during the COVID-19 emergency.
Kona Trolley Suspends Service
From the Kailua VIllage Business Improvement District on Thursday:
Effective today, Governor Ige has issued a mandatory l4-day quarantine for all individuals, both residents and visitors, returning to the State of Hawaii.
Kona trolley services as of today will be suspended. We will continually monitor the situation and will resume the popular Kona Trolley services when it is safe to do so.
Hawaiʻi Hotels Offer Up Properties To Help Government
According to the Hawaii Market Representative for The American Hotel and Lodging Association, member properties in Hawaiʻi “are in the process of or have already started to consolidate operations, close properties, and, unfortunately, lay off, furlough, or reduce compensation for thousands of our hotel employees across the State.”
Hotels across the state – including the Grand Naniloa Resort a DoubleTree by Hilton in Hilo, and the Park Hotels and Resorts’ Hilton Waikoloa – are offering to help government deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
From the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA):
AHLA has launched Hotels For Hope, an initiative to connect hoteliers with government entities interested in using properties during this time of crisis to support communities across the country by connecting hotel properties with the health community, struggling to find housing and support as the COVID-19 public health crisis grows.
To help match and streamline the process, AHLA is working with the Department of Health and Human Services to create a national database, which will allow Government officials to search willing properties based on geographic location.
In just a few short days, over 6,500 hoteliers have stepped up to offer a way to help their communities in this time of need, dozens of properties in Hawaii have already expressed their readiness and participation in this program…
Hawaiian Electric Reports Increase In Scams
The power company issued this statement on Wednesday:
Scammers are trying to capitalize on coronavirus fears by pretending to be Hawaiian Electric and threatening to disconnect customers’ electric service unless “overdue” bills are not paid. Don’t be scammed!
Hawaiian Electric has received dozens of fraud reports from across our five-island service territory since late last week, with many more likely going unreported. Today alone, there were 23 fraud reports received on Oʻahu by 1 p.m.
Customers have also reported receiving threatening texts from Hawaiian Electric asking for payment. Hawaiian Electric does not text customers to request payment.
Commercial Waste Hauling Restricted
From the Hawaiʻi County Department of Environmental Management:
East Hawaii Regional Sort Station services are closed to businesses hauling commercially generated wastes. The Sort Station located at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill will only accept residentially generated wastes for disposal starting Monday, March 30th, 2020 until May 2nd, 2020 and resuming regular operations expected on Sunday May 3rd, 2020. Businesses hauling waste picked up from households will still beallowed to use the Sort Station during regular business hours from 7:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
The County of Hawaii’s Department of Environmental Management are taking these measures to reduce and minimize extended delays in hauling and disposal times and to insure families at home have a place to take their household trash each day, every day, until this crisis is over. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding. Please visit our website for future closure information and locations, or call our Department of Environmental Management, Solid Waste Division Office, at 961-8270
Hawaiian Airlines Focuses on Critical Flights, Cargo Services
Hawaiian Airlines is further adjusting its network due to the COVID-19 pandemic. From the airline:
Hawaiian Airlines is reducing its April flight schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic with a commitment to continue offering its guests and cargo customers essential service within the Hawaiian Islands and between Hawai‘i and California and the U.S. territory of American Samoa.
The airline will maintain a reduced but still robust schedule of Neighbor Island flights, while bolstering all-cargo service to ensure goods continue to reach communities statewide.
“As Hawai‘i’s airline, we understand that our operation is essential to the state. We serve both guests who rely on us for important travel and the transportation of critical cargo,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram. “This has been the hallmark of our mission for 90 years and our dedication to our guests remains unchanged as we look to overcome this global crisis together.”
Starting Sunday, Hawaiian’s long-haul transpacific network will consist of one daily nonstop flight between Honolulu (HNL) and Los Angeles (LAX) and San Francisco (SFO), and one weekly flight connecting Hawai‘i to its Pacific island neighbor of Pago Pago, American Samoa (PPG). All routes will be operated with wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft.
The California routes present cargo opportunities to help maintain service for shippers affected by the reduction in passenger flights due to the state of Hawai‘i’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas arrivals starting tomorrow in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The HNL-PPG route maintains vital service for the territory of American Samoa.
Guests traveling on Hawaiian’s Neighbor Island network will continue to enjoy convenient options throughout the day with 41 daily roundtrip flights scheduled for April. From Honolulu there will be 38 daily flights, including 13 to Maui, eight to Kona, seven to Kaua‘i, six to Hilo, and two each to Lāna‘i and Moloka‘i. From Maui there will be one roundtrip each to Hilo, Kaua‘i and Kona in addition to Honolulu service.
Hawaiian’s schedule reductions for April resulted from the state of Hawai‘i’s quarantine entry restriction and the ensuing drop off of travel to and from the islands. Hawaiian is operating its regularly scheduled long-haul flights through today before it begins suspending routes tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Hawaiian has expanded interisland cargo service to facilitate the movement of essential goods ranging from food to medical equipment and machinery.
On March 3, a fleet of all-cargo ATR-72 aircraft operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian began offering flights five days a week between Honolulu and Kahului (OGG) on Maui and Kona (KOA) on the western coast of the Island of Hawai‘i. The new routes add to all-cargo service launched in summer of 2018 between HNL and Līhu‘e (LIH) on Kaua‘i and Hilo (ITO) on the eastern coast of the Island of Hawai‘i.
Hawaiian also utilizes its Boeing 717 passenger fleet to carry critical, time-sensitive cargo like pharmaceuticals and Blood Bank of Hawai‘i shipments.
Hawaiian is still experiencing an unprecedented volume of calls from guests and respectfully asks that only those with immediate travel needs contact the airline for assistance. Options to reach Hawaiian’s reservations team, to make online changes to tickets, and to see a list of travel waivers are available at Hawaiian’s COVID-19 hub.
The airline also explains how it is keeping employees and guests safe by disinfecting aircraft and airport spaces, modifying boarding processes to prevent congestion at the gate, and adjusting in-flight services such as by distributing disposable sanitizing wipes.
Hawaiʻi Island Human Society Update
Hawaii Island Humane Society’s top priority is keeping people safe while continuing to provide the utmost care for shelter animals during this COVID-19 crisis. There is no evidence that companion animals have been infected or could spread the coronavirus (COVID-19) according to the World Health Organization.
COVID-19 Action Plan Update
Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, Hawaii Island Humane Society’s three shelters in Keaau, Waimea and Kona will close to the public and volunteers. Hawaii Island Humane Society (HIHS) shelter staff will continue to ensure that pets are fed and kennels are clean.
HIHS will provide the following essential services during this time:
• Intakes: If you find a lost or stray animal, please call one of the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelters to schedule an appointment to bring the pet in. While the shelters will remain open for intakes, please be prepared to wait as staff is reducing public interactions.
• Animal Control: Animal control officers will continue to answer high priority and emergency calls. Those calls include injured or sick stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, and dangerous and aggressive dog complaints. Officers will respond to other calls as time and safety allow. HIHS’s capacity to respond to calls may be diminished during this time.
• Lost Pets: Call to make an appointment at your nearest shelter. You will need to file a lost pet report and provide proof of ownership (photo, veterinary records).
• Owner Surrendered Pets: Pet owners who are not facing an immediate crisis are encouraged to hold their pets for up to four weeks and surrender at a later day. Pet owners who need to immediately surrender pets can do so by appointment only.
• Owner Requested Euthanasia: Owners requesting euthanasia services are encouraged to contact and schedule an appointment with the shelter in your area.
• Adoptions and Fostering Programs: Adoptions and fostering are on hold at this time while we develop a plan to promote positive outcomes for our animals. Please check hihs.org or follow us on social media for updates.
All dog parks are closed.
Hawaii Island Humane Society will not be issuing spay and neuter coupons this month. Community spay and neuter programs including the Angel Day 2020 Spay & Neuter for Pit Bull Mixes at the Keaau Shelter slated for April 1 and 2 is also cancelled. All programs including microchipping, humane education classes, group visits, events, field trips for shelter dogs and new volunteer introductions are postponed until further notice.
Dog license renewals by mail only. Renewal cards and payment should be made to Hawaii Island Humane Society, 78-6767 Mamalahoa Highway, Holualoa, HI 96725. Checks should be made payable to the Hawaii Island Humane Society.
Please do not come to the shelters unless you require one of our essential services. The individual shelters can be contacted for appointments by calling the Keaau Shelter 808-966-5458, Kona Shelter 808-329-1175 and Waimea Shelter 808-885-4558.
UH Extends Application Deadline
The University of Hawaiʻi is extending the deadline to apply for admissions to UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu to August 1, 2020, the same deadline as the seven UH community colleges. This will give prospective students additional time to consider attending a UH campus for the 2020–21 academic year under the new uncertainties associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students are encouraged to apply as early as possible, particularly if they are interested in financial aid.
The announcement was made during a Wednesday, March 25 news conference by Gov. David Y. Ige, a UH graduate.
“For parents and students who are now thinking about staying home for college, you canʻt beat the opportunities across the University of Hawaiʻi System,” said UH President Lassner, adding that there is something for everyone at UH—from graduating high school seniors, to students on the mainland wanting to return home, to adults looking for improved economic opportunity through a career change.
“The UH system offers a wide range of amazing higher education programs across the state,” said Lassner. “Weʻre recognized around the world as affordable at every level, from our amazing community colleges to our welcoming baccalaureate universities to one of the world’s great research universities.”