(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council meets today at 9:30 a.m. in another coronavirus-era meeting that is not open to the public, but will be viewable over the council livestream. There are already multiple COVID-19 related matters on the agenda.
First, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaiʻi) is expected to give an update to the council on various federal efforts.
Resolution 572-20, introduced by all councilmembers, urges President Donald Trump to issue a ban on all non-essential travel to the State of Hawai‘i until April 30, 2020, “to help reduce the COVID-19 infection rate and ease the burden on our already strained healthcare, housing, food, medicine, and dry goods resources.”
Also, there are several resolutions have also been introduced to provide grant funds to Laʻiʻōpua 2020 for expenses to provide free meals in Kona during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Councilwoman Ashley Kierkiewicz is also putting forth a resolution to transfer $27,900 from her District 4 contingency relief account to be used as a grant to the Food Basket for expenses related to emergency food distribution during the pandemic.
There are also going to be at least two other resolutions brought forward that are not listed on today’s agenda.
Councilmember Sue Lee Loy has introduced Resolution No. 575-20, urging the Governor to suspend residential evictions, especially for nonpayment of rent, during the COVID-19 state of emergency.
“We are in unchartered waters and Resolution 575-20 is an attempt to have us fall forward,” Lee Loy said. “The effects of this crisis are unknown and will be for months to come. It is my hope Resolution 575-20 is embraced as a proactive measure to provide certainty for people in our community, especially our kūpuna and keiki, in uncertain times.”
A media release from Lee Loy’s office states:
The resolution notes Governor David Ige’s authority under Chapter 127A of Hawai‘i Revised Statutes to suspend certain laws during a state of emergency, and asks him to grant relief to residential tenants who face prolonged economic hardship as a result of the ongoing state of emergency.
Further, the potential loss of a home places additional stress on residents at a time when a stay-at-home order remains in effect. This resolution asks the Governor to take sensible, reasonable, compassionate measures in these extraordinary times. It also aligns the County with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which has sent a letter to the Governor requesting that this relief be granted.
Meanhwile, Councilmember Matthew Kanealii-Kleinfelder has introduced Resolution 574-20, urging the governor to prevent evictions of small businesses until May 30, 2020.
“The small business community needs a voice,” Kanealii-Kleinfelder wrote in an email to the small business community. “They are being mandated to be closed and many may not survive. It is absolutely imperative that we all SHARE the SACRIFICE.”