As Maui County and the world face the pandemic COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, MauiTime is shifting our coverage to inform the local public about the latest news, impacts, and responses regarding the outbreak. If you, your family, or your place of work have been affected by coronavirus and/or the resulting closures to business, we want to hear from you. Contact us at [email protected] or [email protected] Updates by Axel Beers, Jen Russo, and Deborah Rybak. To find our restaurants status page go to https://mauitime.com/foodstatus
-Jen Russo, 3/31/20 2:45pm
Hawaii Psychological Association Wants to Support Your Well-Being During Covid-19
The Hawaii Psychological Association released a statement on March 29 to help those who may be experiencing distress during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We encourage everyone to channel your ‘nervous energy’ into more adaptive and functional thoughts and behaviors,” they wrote, and suggest that people:
- Maintain perspective. The virus is a real threat and something we cannot control, but there are many things we can control, focus on those. Keep in mind that fear is part of a vicious cycle. Our sense of risk is driven by our emotions, like fear, and fear turns up our perceptions of risk. This situation has all the significant elements that research has identified causes fear: when a threat is new and unfamiliar when people feel little sense of control over the threat, and when they experience a sense of dread (Slovic & Peters, 2006).
- Educate yourself on appropriate precautions and follow them. Make sure your sources are reliable, be prepared and keep a realistic mindset. For example, when following necessary precautions, chances are significantly decreased of contracting the virus, and even for people who do get the virus, CDC reports 80% of those cases as mild to moderate.
- Limit news and social media consumption. Keep up to date as the situation evolves, but be mindful of how much time you are spending watching the news or consuming information on social media as it can increase stress and anxiety (Holman et al., 2014). Research suggests that social media may cause more anxiety than traditional media, for example, after the Zika epidemic (Chan et al., 2018), so pay particular attention to how much time you are spending on social media.
- Communicate with your children. Discuss the news coverage of the coronavirus with accurate and age-appropriate information (Wang, 2020). Parents can also help reduce distress by focusing children on routines and schedules. Remember that children will observe your behaviors and emotions for cues on how to manage their feelings during this time. You may want to limit how much media they consume to help keep their anxiety in check.
- Keep connected. Maintaining social networks can foster a sense of normality and provide valuable outlets for sharing feelings and relieving stress. You can manage these connections without increasing your risk of getting the virus by talking on the phone, texting, chatting with people on social media platforms, or video platforms (e.g., FaceTime, Skype, Zoom).
- Find a routine. When faced with a “new normal” (e.g., kids out of school, working from home, limits to usual recreational activities), maintain or develop a routine for yourself and children. Structure and routines lend a sense of security.
- Just breathe. Practice anxiety-reducing strategies such as: progressive muscle relaxation, mindfulness, mediation, or prayer. There are many videos on YouTube or apps like Headspace or Calm that can assist with this.
- Keep moving. Physical activity is very helpful in reducing anxiety and encourages a sense of wellbeing and control. Move your body. Go for a walk, go hiking, ride your bike, use exercise videos at home, even some form of subtle chair exercise can be helpful.
- Look for the positives. Try to find some positives in the situation, e.g., more time to engage with your family/children. Use this time to reconnect at various levels with family members. Read with your kids, do crafts, cook a romantic dinner with your spouse. Look for moments of joy.
- Exercise your brain. Learn a new skill. Memorize passages from favorite writings, keep a gratitude journal, read that book you’ve had on your list.
- Lend a hand, be a good neighbor, find creative ways to serve others e.g., write letters, or have children color pictures for kūpuna and mail them.
- Seek additional help. If you or your loved ones are feeling an overwhelming nervousness, a lingering sadness, or other prolonged reactions that are negatively affecting their job performance or relationships, please consult with a trained mental health professional. In the aftermath of SARS, nearly half of residents surveyed in affected areas reported that their mental health had severely or moderately deteriorated, and 16% demonstrated posttraumatic stress symptoms (Lau et al., 2005). If you are experiencing acute stress now, effectively managing that trauma now is more likely to protect you from long-term mental and physical health outcomes (Garfin, et al., 2018). Psychologists and other appropriate mental health providers can help people deal with extreme stress. These professionals work with individuals to help them find constructive ways to manage adversity.
Read more at www.hawaiipsychology.org
-Axel, 10:45am, 3/30
Grab-and-Go Meals Canceled At Lokelani Intermediate, Will Begin Tomorrow
Due to a power outage, grab-and-go meals are not available at Lokelani Intermediate School today, announced the Department of Education. Service will begin tomorrow.
-Axel, 10:30am, 3/30
Hawaii COVID-19 Cases Jump to 151; New Cases on Maui: 0
Although Hawaii’s COVID-19 cases jumped sharply to from 120 to 151 on Saturday, Maui had no new reported cases, the state health department said Saturday. Currently there are 16 cases on island. Oahu’s cases rose to 105, Kaua’i to 11 and Hawai’i island to 10, with 7 cases pending assignment to a particular island, up by 3 from yesterday. That brings the total to 149, by MauiTime’s calculations, but there was no explanation forthcoming on Saturday about the other two cases.
Sen. Schatz Details Coronavirus Relief Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed yesterday with the approval of both houses of Congress and the signature of President Donald Trump. Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz sent the following details in an email about direct payments to individuals:
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act directs the Department of the Treasury to make a one-time direct payment to individuals to help them recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The federal government will send you a payment if (1) you meet the eligibility criteria; (2) you fall within the income cap; and (3) you have filed a tax return or you already receive Social Security benefits. If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019 or you receive Social Security benefits, you do not need to apply for this benefit. If you do not fit into those categories, you can file a tax return for free to receive your payment.
- Anyone other than a nonresident alien, a dependent, or an estate, is eligible.
- You must have a Social Security number for you, your spouse, and any child you are claiming. There is an exception for spouses of active duty military members.
Amount of payment
- Individuals receive $1,200 (joint filers receive $2,400) plus $500 per child under 17 years old.
- 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.
- With the phase-out, 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.
- Your income is based on your 2019 tax return; if you did not file taxes in 2019, the Treasury will use your 2018 tax return.
- If you did not file a tax return in those years, the Treasury can use your Social Security benefit information or you will have to file a tax return. You can find out how to file a return for free at www.irs.gov.
How will it be paid?
- If you filed a tax return in 2018 or 2019, or you receive Social Security benefits, you will receive the rebate automatically.
- If you provided bank account information to receive your tax refund as a direct deposit, you will receive your rebate that way.
- If you did not provide information for direct deposit, you will be mailed a rebate check to the address provided on your 2018 or 2019 tax return, whichever you filed most recently.
- If you did not file in 2018 or 2019, but you receive Social Security benefits, you will receive the rebate the same way you receive your Social Security benefit.
- After the payment is made, you will receive a notification in the mail from Treasury within 15 days.
- If you do not fit within one of these categories you can file a tax return now to receive your payment (to file a return for free, please go to www.irs.gov).
When will the payments be made?
- Payments will be made as fast as possible but could still take a month or longer.
For more information, please check the IRS’s website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus. The “2020 Recovery Rebates” program is established by Title II (Sec. 2201) of the CARES Act.
-Axel, 11:45am, 3/28
Council, Mayor Approve Bill to Support Residents
A bill to establish a $2-million relief program for Maui residents became law today, with the approval of the Maui County Council and signature of Mayor Michael Victorino. The “Hawaii Emergency Laulima Program,” or “HELP,” will be implemented by the county and Maui Economic Opportunity, and will assist residents who have been impacted by job losses from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Assistance can be used for food, medicine, rent, mortgage, utility payments, phone or internet service, car payments, or insurance, Victorino said.
“In this unprecedented time of uncertainty, we want to reach out to our hard-hit hotel, restaurant, retail and other workers who’ve seen their source of livelihood shut down to slow down the spread of this disease,” said Victorino.
-Axel, 5:45pm, 3/27
Department of Public Safety: Jail Population Down
The Department of Public Safety announced Friday that population decreased at Maui Community Correctional Center by 71, from February 24 to March 27. The current population at MCCC is 378. “This is due in part to the huge efforts being made by the Judiciary as they work with PSD to reduce the number of people in our jails,” said Toni Schwartz, spokesperson for PSD, in a statement Friday.
” The Department of Public Safety is well aware of the risks of over-population and crowding in our jails, especially during this pandemic. We are taking proactive measures with our criminal justice partners, including the Office of the Attorney General, the Judiciary, County Prosecutors, Office of the Public Defender, and the Hawai‘i Paroling Authority, to find ways to temporarily reduce the number of people in our prisons and jails, while keeping the overall safety of the community our top priority.”
Total jail population decrease across the state was 356.
–Axel, 3:15pm, 3/27
5,000-6,000 Layoffs, At Least 14 Hotels Shut Down in County
At least 5,000 to 6,000 hospitality industry workers have been laid off, and at least 14 hotels have been shut down, in Maui County in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Michael Victorino said in a Friday press conference.
The mayor advised people to file for unemployment if they have been impacted. More information regarding county and federal relief packages will be available soon as the programs are finalized.
-Axel, 2:40pm, 3/27
100 Tests Coming to Maui County By Monday, Mayor Says
Mayor Michael Victorino said Friday in a press conference that 100 tests were ordered by the county. He expects that drive-through testing will resume Monday for individuals that schedule appointments. In two days this week, 180 of the 200 kits were used, with 162 samples being taken.
Drive-through testing is available on Maui at the War Memorial Gym Parking Lot. You must make an appointment to be tested. To make an appointment, call 808-270-7228. Calls will be answered from 8am to 4pm. If lines are busy, do not leave a voicemail; call alternate phone numbers: 808-500-8118, 808-500-8117, or 808-500-8120.
-Axel, 2:20pm, 3/27
Hawaii Tourism Authority: 11 Visitors Out of 136 Passenger Arrivals to Kahului Airport
Yesterday, on the first day of the state’s mandatory 14-day self-quarantine, 136 passengers arrived at Kahului Airport, said the Hawaii Tourism Authority. Eleven of those passengers were visitors, 81 were crew members, and 44 were residents.
In the state, a total of 1,589 passengers arrived by air. 268 were visitors.
-Axel, 2:15pm, 3/27
Daily Count: 120 Cases in the State, 16 on Maui
The Department of Health is reporting 120 total cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 16 on Maui. The count was updated at noon on March 27.
-Axel, 1:10pm, 3/27
-Deborah, 5:45pm, 3/26
Akaku Maui Community Media Wants Your Videos!
If you are stuck and home and need something to do, why not make a video? Akaku wants to air your content on its channels. Create content on your phone, computer, iPad Zoom/Skype/Google Hangouts/WebEx or any other device or app that records audio and video, and then send it to Akaku via akaku.org/submit.
“We want to know how you are dealing with COVID-19 rules, restrictions and isolation. How are you coping? What are you up to? What are you doing to keep calm, clean and safe? Have a funny story, a good tip? A poem, a song or dance, or commentary? What are your pets up to? What is going on in your neighborhood? Do you have something to demonstrate or teach?” said the organization in a press releease. “Please help Maui Nui to “Get Better and to Feel Better!” Turn your phone sideways, record a 2 – 3 minute video and share it with the Maui Nui community! THIS IS HOW WE STAY CONNECTED!”
If you need help recording or editing a video, there are resources on YouTube or you can contact Akaku at 871-5554 or email us at: [email protected].
US Has Most Cases of COVID-19 Worldwide
News outlets are reporting that the number of COVID-19 cases in the world is more than half-a-million. The United States has now surpassed Italy and China as the nation with the most confirmed cases. The US now has 82,404 confirmed cases of COVID-19, reported the Guardian, citing a tracker at Johns Hopkins. The US is still several weeks behind Asia and Europe in terms of infection rates, “and there is widespread agreement among medical and public health experts that things (cases and deaths) are going to get much worse in coming weeks,” reported the Guardian.
-Axel, 12:50pm, 3/26
106 Cases of COVID-19 In Hawaii, 14 on Maui
The Department of Health is now reporting 106 cases of COVID-19 in the state, an increase of 11 cases from yesterday. Fourteen cases are on Maui, 11 of which are Hawaii residents; 3 are non-residents.
-Axel. 12:25pm, 3/26
-Deborah, 8:30pm, 3/25
-Deborah, 4:40pm, 3/25
-Jen, 4:30pm, 3/25
Watch What You Flush!
The County of Maui reminds people our sewer systems are only designed to handle human waste, toilet paper, and used water. As people are using more wipes, kleenex, paper towels, gloves, etc, the county is emphasizing that these are NOT FLUSHABLE. NO WIPES OF ANY KIND SHOULD BE FLUSHED!
-Axel, 3:47pm, 3/25
UH Application Deadline Extended to Aug. 1
The deadline to apply to University of Hawaii Manoa, Hilo, and West Oahu has been extended to August 1 for the 2020-2021 school year due to COVID-19, the UH system announced today.
Students applying to the UH Community Colleges can apply up until the start of the semester. Students should apply as early as possible, especially if they hope to receive financial aid.
-Axel, 3:40pm, 3/25
95 Positive Cases of COVID-19 in State
As of 12pm Wednesday, March 25, the Department of Health is reporting 95 positive COVID-19 cases in the state, an increase of 6 from yesterday. Thirteen total cases are on Maui; 10 of those cases are from residents, and three are non-HI residents.
Drive-through testing is available on Maui at the War Memorial Gym Parking Lot. You must make an appointment to be tested. To make an appointment, call 808-270-7228. Calls will be answered from 8am to 4pm. If lines are busy, do not leave a voicemail; call alternate phone numbers: 808-500-8118, 808-500-8117, or 808-500-8120.
-Axel, 2:55pm, 3/25
Hawaiʻi Attorney General Urges Online Vigilance During School Shutdowns
As internet activity among children and teenagers is expected to increase during school shutdowns and social distancing, state attorney general Clare Connors urged parents to increase their vigilance and focus on online safety. Earlier this week, Maui Police Department announced that it completed “Operation Keiki Shield 6,” an operation that ran from March 13 to March 15 and was intended to identify, locate, and arrest offenders “who commit internet-facilitated sexual crimes against children and to identify and rescue child victims of child sexual exploitation and abuse.” Ten individuals were arrested on Maui during Operation Keiki Shield 6. MPD did not release names or mugshots.
-Axel, 2:25, 3/25
‘It’s Crazy’: Maui residents wait for hours and days to file claims for unemployment insurance
Walter Moses and his uncle walked laps around the State Office Building on Friday, March 20, looking for ways to file an unemployment claim. Moses, who spoke softly as his uncle translated, was laid off from his job at Mama’s Fish House just two days prior, and with upcoming rent to pay, the pair was visibly concerned.
“We tried to go on it but no can,” Moses said about the online system. The security code for the site wouldn’t work. Phone calls for support wouldn’t go through. So the two showed up at Maui’s Unemployment Insurance Division office in person, where a sign told them “WE ARE CLOSED” in boldface and directed them back to the overwhelmed online application and phone lines. The two ended up circling the building, helplessly looking for assistance.
They weren’t the only ones there that Friday. As I watched the office at noon, a constant stream of people approached the window, read the sign, and either walked away, made a call, or poked around the building in the hope that help, somehow, was waiting around the corner.
But no such help would be found.
-Axel, 2:20pm, 3/25
Hawai’i Doctors: We want Josh Green – Hawai’i’s Lieutenant Governor and emergency room doctor missing at the command table
Who do you want dictating government policy during the COVID-19 pandemic: doctors or government officials? As the state struggles to quickly implement the new lockdown rules, a group of more than 300 Hawai’i physicians and health professionals is demanding that even more stringent steps be taken, and that government officials give Lt. Gov. Josh Green a seat at the decision-making table during the COVID-19 pandemic.
–Axel, 2:20pm, 3/25
County’s List of Open Bathrooms
The county released a list of bathrooms that are remaining open during COVID-19 closures, as of March 23.
• Hana Bay
• Kalahau “Blue Tile Roof” Park
• Eddie Tam Dog Park
• Haiku Ball Park
• Makana Park (Kuau)
• Kula Community Center Tennis Courts
• Rainbow Park
• Paia Ballpark
• Ho’okipa Beach Park
• Lower Paia Park – to be installed on 3/24/2020
• Kanaha Beach Park
• Ho’aloha Beach Park
• Kahului Community Center Park Tennis Courts
• Luana Gardens Park
• Leisure Estates Park
• Richard “Pablo” Caldito Park
• Pu’uohala Park
• War Memorial Little League Field
• Haycraft Park
• Ka Lae Pohaku Park
• Kalepolepo Park
• Kalama Park
• Cove Park
• Charley Young Beach Park
• Palauea Park
• Po’olenalena Park
• Kilohana Park
• Keawakapu II Beach Park
• West Maui Skate Park
• Puamana Park
• S-Turns Park
• Ukumehame Park
• Wahikuli Terrace Park
• Papalaua Beach Park
• Launiupoko Beach Park – to be installed on 3/24/2020
• Wahikuli Beach Park – to be installed on 3/24/2020
• Hanakao’o Beach Park – to be installed on 3/24/2020
• Pukoo Beach Right of Way
• Kaha’ahia Park
• Dixie Mauru
• One Alii Park 2
-Axel, 9:30am, 3/25
Lt. Gov. Josh Green: COVID-19 Cases Should Peak around April 20th
Lt. Gov Josh Green said today he expects the coming surge in COVID cases to peak around the end of April, then begin to subside. “I don’t have a crystal ball,” Green, who is also an emergency room doctor, told KHON2-TV. “My expectation is that around April 20th, we’ll see the largest peak of the surge at our hospitals, maybe a little later. Then we’ll come down the other side and we should be okay. But there are a lot of unpredictable factors right now because the lockdown is going to start and hopefully decrease the spread very significantly.” Green added that he hoped to see “the light at the end of the tunnel” by April 30th.
Earlier in the interview, Green said that there currently are 3,031 beds statewide in hospitals, which could be increased by 450 beds. “As of this moment today, we have 1,000 empty beds. If the estimates are correct and we get between 30,000 and 45,000 cases, and they all came real fast, we would not have beds for people. That’s why we have to slow the spread.”
School facilities closed to students through April 30 with the exception of grab-and-go meal sites
The Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) announced today school facilities will remain closed to students through April 30, based on the latest guidance and information from health officials and elected leaders. Traditional, in-school instruction is on hold until schools reopen.
“I want to thank each and every one of the Department’s 44,000 employees for working in new ways during these unprecedented times,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said. “These are uncertain and anxious circumstances for everyone in our communities and we sincerely appreciate your patience as our response to this health crisis continues to evolve and we make the needed adjustments for health and safety.”
The Department, along with charter schools, will be sending out information about enrichment opportunities, including online resources and printed material resources such as instructional packets. Parents and guardians are encouraged to look out for information from their child’s school and teachers. Tips and tools gathered by HIDOE’s Office of Curriculum and Instructional Design are also available for the public at bit.ly/HIDOEVirtualLearningParentResource.
Special education services
Schools will ensure that students with disabilities have equal access to the same enrichment opportunities as their peers. Schools are working toward providing the most appropriate modifications and accommodations under the circumstances. Related services that can be provided via telepractice will be considered on a case-by-case basis for students who have qualified for these services. When school resumes in its traditional manner, Individualized Education Program (IEP) and Section 504 teams will meet to determine if there was a loss of skills as a result of the extended school closure, and the need for compensatory education.
Grab-and-go meal school sites
Nine additional sites will begin breakfast and lunch service Wednesday, March 25. Parents and caregivers who come to pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child. Meals will not be served Thursday, March 26, which is Prince Kuhio Day. For the complete list of sites, click here.
By the end of this week, the Department will be sharing specific plans to ensure its 10,000 eligible high school graduates can earn diplomas. The Department will also provide next-level information based on the planning work accomplished by schools, complex areas and state offices for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
“We remain focused on and committed to our educational mission and we look forward to resuming instruction and a sense of normalcy as quickly as possible,” Kishimoto added.
Bank of Hawaii Closes Some Maui Branches
|NEWS RELEASE: Due to the recent stay-at-home and work-from-home orders for the state of Hawaii, some of our locations will be temporarily closed across Hawaii and the West Pacific region. This decision was made with careful consideration to protect our employees and customers and to limit person-to-person contact while continuing to serve you, safely. |
On Maui County, beginning Thursday, March 26, the following branches will remain open:
|Branch LocationHours of Operation:|
11 E Kamehameha Ave, Kahului9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Kūpuna hour
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday
20B Ala Malama St, Kaunakakai9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Kūpuna hour
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
1280 S Kihei Rd, Suite 116, Kihei9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Kūpuna hour
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday
130 Papalaua St, Lahaina9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Kūpuna hour
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
460 Eighth St, Lanai City9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Kūpuna hour
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.; 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Friday
55 Pukalani St, Suite 1, Makawao9 a.m. – 10 a.m. Kūpuna hour
10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday – Fridayy
|We will continue to assess branches and share updates at boh.com/COVID19 in the event that additional branches close due to operational changes or other circumstances, such as insufficient staffing levels. A list of our open branches can be found here or by using our branch locator.|
Coronavirus Cases Rise To 90
The state’s number of coronavirus cases rose to 90 today, up 14 from Monday, state department of health officials said. There were no island breakdowns released. So far, six of the confirmed cases have required hospitalization, and the state reported its first death last night. The person died Friday on Oahu and suffered from multiple health conditions, according to officials.
Maui Health Confirms Employee Has COVID-19
Maui Health Systems, which includes Maui Memorial Medical Center, Kula Hospital, Lanai Community Hospital and associated clinics, announced today that one of its employees has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is in isolation and in good condition, said spokesperson Lisa Paulson.
“Please understand that out of respect for this individual’s privacy, additional details about this case will not be shared publicly,” Paulson added.
The company said it is working with county health officials to “ensure that patients, employees, family, friends and anyone who has been in close contact are screened.”
When the county lockdown goes into effect at 12:01am tomorrow, “we will institute a no-visitor policy at all of our hospitals and facilities…with the exception of Pediatrics and OB, which will be limited to one visitor per patient,” the company said in a news release.
In addition, all elective surgeries and procedures have been canceled.
–Axel, 11:20, 3/24
Updated, Deborah, 12:19pm, 3/24
Kaiser Permanente to Suspend Insurance Termination
Kaiser Permanente announced today that it will not be terminating coverage for non-payment through April 2020.
“We know that many of our friends and neighbors face economic uncertainty during this unprecedented time,” said Ron Vance, president Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, Hawaii Region. “We feel the pain of those affected and want to make sure they’re able to focus on taking care of their families and not on the cost of their care.”
Customers or individuals who need more information about their coverage, benefits or payment options can contact Member Services at 808-432-5955.
-Axel, 11:15, 3/24
County: ‘About’ 75 People Tested During First Day of Drive-Through Testing
“About” 75 people were tested for COVID-19 at the War Memorial Parking Lot Gym on Monday, said county spokesperson Chris Sugidono. It was the first day the drive-through testing location was open. All who were tested were screened over the phone before being determined eligible and given an appointment.
To make an appointment, call 808-270-7228. Calls will be answered from 8am to 4pm. If lines are busy, do not leave a voicemail; call alternate phone numbers: 808-500-8118, 808-500-8117, or 808-500-8120.
Screening and testing is based on the availability of test kits, Sugidono said. Results from tests are available in about three days.
As of noon March 23, 2020, the state Department of Health reports 77 presumptive and confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. 11 are on Maui.
-Axel, 10:13pm, 3/23
Gov. Ige Issues Stay-At-Home Order for State
Following lockdown orders for Honolulu and Maui, Governor David Ige Monday announced a statewide “stay-at-home” order set to begin at 12:01am Wednesday. “The threat of COVID-19 is unprecedented and it requires even more aggressive actions,” Ige said, adding “a statewide order is necessary for cohesion and consistency.”
With rules for the Maui and Honolulu lockdowns already set, Ige issued a similar set of restrictions for Hawai’i and Kaua’i. In addition, he announced a deadline extension for filing 2019 Hawai’i income tax to July 20, 2020, similar to the federal extension issued earlier in the month. Those expecting tax refunds for 2019 were told to file “as soon as possible.”
Ige stressed the need for all state residents to stay home, or at their place of residence. “These efforts are all aimed at social distancing, the single most effective way of controlling this deadly virus, as alien as it might be for us here in the Aloha State.”
During the question and answer portion of his press conference, Ige acknowledged difficulties with state unemployment offices being overwhelmed with claims. “I assure you that everyone who qualifies for an unemployment benefit will receive the benefit and we are working to get that money out to them as quickly as we can.”
Ige also said the state is trying to ramp up testing for the COVID-19 virus, following the announcement today that a new process allows a test and outcome to be completed within 45 minutes. “We are working to ensure that we can get access to that equipment and to make those resources available to those who most need it.”
-Deborah, 4:35pm, 3/23
DAILY UPDATE: 72 cases in the state, 11 on Maui
Update: At his 3pm press conference Monday afternoon, Ige updated the number to 77 cases. Currently, the location of the five new cases is “unknown.”
The state Department of Health has announced that as of 12pm on Mar. 23 there are 72 COVID-19 cases in the Hawaii. Eleven are on Maui. Fifty-three cases are on Oahu, five on the Big Island, and three on Kaua’i.
Maui drive-through COVID-19 testing is now open (scroll down for previous update with details) at the War Memorial Gym Parking Lot. Individuals wanting to get tested must call 808-270-7228 ahead to schedule an appointment.
-Axel, 12:40pm, 3/23
Maui Public Health Emergency Rules Amended
Following Mayor Victorino’s announcement of a “stay at home and work from home” order, county spokesperson Christopher Sugidono released an update to Maui’s Public Health Emergency rules in a statement released Sunday, March 22 at 5:28pm.
The new rules will be effective at 12:01am Wednesday, March 25, 2020. The new order will be in effect until April 30. The county’s overview of the rules are as follows (Note: the county updated the below rules at 5:59pm Sunday. This post was updated at 6:07pm to reflect the changes.):
Order to Stay/Work from home:
- Stay at home or place of lodging except for “essential activities,” “essential businesses” or “government operations”
- Where possible, County of Maui departments will employ tele-work and other methods to provide distancing, while ensuring continuity of services
- NO public or private gatherings outside the home
- Essential Activities include:
- Essential to maintain health and safety, like getting medicine or seeing a doctor
- Getting food, pet food, and supplies necessary for staying at home
- Doing solitary outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, or running
- Performing work to operate an essential business or essential government function (defined below)
- Caring for a family member in another household
- Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, person with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons
- Travel limited to essential activities or operation of essential business or essential government function.
Government and Private Services or Businesses May Remain OPEN:
- First responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers, law enforcement and County of Maui personnel
- Healthcare operations, including home health workers
- Essential infrastructure, including operation of public transportation and utilities
- Grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores
- Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities
- Pharmacies, health care supply stores, and health care facilities
- Gas stations, auto repair facilities, and auto supply stores
- Financial institutions
- Refuse collection
- Hardware, lumber, and building materials stores
- Maintenance service providers, like plumbers, electricians, exterminators necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and businesses
- Laundromats and laundry service providers
- Businesses that primarily ship or deliver groceries, food and goods
- Childcare facilities that enable essential employees to go to work
- Newspapers, television, radio, and other media
- Construction and maintenance, public and private
- Agricultural operations
- Businesses that supply other essential business with support or supplies necessary to operate
- Business conducting legally mandated activities
- Businesses that provide food, shelter, and other necessities of life for animals, including animal shelters, rescues, kennels, and adoption facilities
- Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services, provided, the services provided must comply with Social Distancing Requirements at all times reasonably possible
- Public and private K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for distance learning and essential functions
- Businesses needed to support essential governmental or essential business functions
- Hotels, motels and support services
Public and Private Facilities and Businesses Required to CLOSE
- All businesses not listed as “essential businesses”
- Restaurants and cafes will be allowed to provide takeout and delivery service
- Bars, nightclubs, theaters, public gathering venues, and tourist attractions
- Gyms, recreation facilities, and other places of public gathering, regardless of size
- County parks, golf course and beach parks are ordered closed
- Violation of the rules is punishable as a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both.
Visit mauicounty.gov for more information
-Axel, 5:40pm, 3/22
-Axel, 6:07pm, 3/22 (rule overview updated to reflect revised overview released by the county at 5:59pm)
Maui, Honolulu To Go on Lockdown
Mayor Michael Victorino announced an emergency stay-at-home order for all Maui residents, starting Wednesday at 12:01am through April 30. Victorino’s announcement came on the heels of a news conference Sunday by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who announced a lockdown of that city’s residents to start Monday at 4:30 pm.
Before notifying the public (or the media), Victorino sent a letter to “Visitor Industry Partners” saying, in part, “We will be asking that no more arrivals are allowed into Maui Country after 12:00am Wednesday, March 25. We are asking that folks at hotels and other lodging businesses stay in place. Therefore, current visitors on island can try to leave immediately or stay until their current flight date. However, if they stay until their current flight date, they must adhere to all policies that are in effect. Hotels and Lodging businesses shall close pools, spas, activites, etc. but may keep their “take out” services open for guests.”
In his public remarks, Kirk Caldwell said “The order is a stay at home, work at home order. All individuals living on the island of Oahu are ordered to stay at home and work at home except for essential activites.”
Governor David Ige said in a statement: ”The mayors of the City and County of Honolulu and Maui have my full support for the stay-at-home, work-at-home orders they issued today. We have been working together on this issue, and this morning we agreed that the mayors should develop their own plans to meet the unique needs of their counties. We also agreed that statewide action will be needed. I have directed the Attorney General to review the orders other states have issued and prepared a statewide plan that will keep the people of Hawaii safe and healthy.”
–-Deborah, 4:23pm, 3/22
Hawaiian Airlines to Suspend Most Long-Haul Passenger Service Due to New State of Hawai‘i Quarantine Order
Airline to focus on returning guests home ahead of Hawai‘i’s March 26 quarantine
Hawaiian Airlines, in preparation for a 14-day government quarantine order for all Hawai‘i arrivals set to begin Thursday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, today announced it will maintain its regular flight schedule through Wednesday to allow guests to return home and to accommodate the repatriation of aircraft before finalizing significant reductions of its domestic and international passenger network.
“Hawai‘i is our home and all 7,500 of us at our company care deeply for it,” Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram said after Hawai‘i Gov. David Ige announced the quarantine plan yesterday afternoon. “We support the state of Hawai‘i’s efforts to quickly contain this illness. We have begun notifying our guests and helping them return home – both to Hawai’i and from Hawai’i. We sincerely appreciate our guests’ patience and understanding during this difficult period for Hawaiian and the state of Hawai’i.”
The airline, which has begun notifying guests about the quarantine rule, has restricted passenger bookings on its network while it finalizes its April schedule. Hawaiian is committed to providing one daily nonstop flight between Honolulu (HNL) and Los Angeles (LAX) and its Thursday flight between HNL and American Samoa (PPG) in order to provide a baseline of out-of-state access. The airline will evaluate its transpacific cargo network and may provide passenger access on any additional flights for travelers willing to undergo the mandated self-imposed quarantine.
Hawaiian will also be reducing its Neighbor Island schedule – starting with the suspension of ‘Ohana by Hawaiian service between Honolulu and Kapalua in West Maui effective Wednesday – but intends to maintain a network that will continue to provide vital connectivity for guests traveling within the state. Interisland cargo service will continue uninterrupted using Boeing 717 jets and a turboprop fleet operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian.
Hawaiian continues to experience 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, make online changes to tickets, and details on available travel waivers are available here.
“As Hawai’i’s airline, we take our role to connect the islands with each other and with the U.S. mainland very seriously. This schedule is designed to maintain a minimum level of connectivity for residents’ important needs,” said Ingram. “We will be ready to resume our schedule when the quarantine has been lifted.”
–Deborah, 4:15pm, 3/22
DAILY UPDATE: 56 Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in State, Nine on Maui
As of the state’s 12pm update on Sunday, March 22, there are now 56 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state. Nine are on Maui. Read more at https://hawaiicovid19.com/
Drive-through COVID-19 testing will begin on Maui on Monday at the War Memorial Stadium Parking Lot. Individuals wanting testing must call ahead for an appointment. To make an appointment, call 808-270-7228. Calls will be answered from 8am to 4pm, starting Saturday, March 21, 2020.
-Axel, 12:17pm, 3/22
American Job Center Maui Website Launched to Help With Job and Business Losses from COVID-19
The American Job Center Maui has launched a new website to help Maui residents file for unemployment insurance and search for jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. The website can be accessed at Mauiamericanjobcenter.com and connects people impacted by recent lay-offs and business closures with the resources and support currently available.
Restaurants, bars, retailers, and the hospitality industry are reeling from the impacts of COVID-19, which has included a closure of bars and clubs, entertainment venues, gatherings of more than 10 people, parks, and dine-in restaurant service, as well as a recently announced, yet-to-be-implemented mandatory quarantine for all arrivals into Hawaii airports.
Last week, unemployment claims soared as projected job losses were in the thousands. Many reported an overload of the state’s online unemployment claim system as it experienced increased traffic, as well as hours-long phone wait times.
To file for unemployment insurance, go to huiclaims.hawaii.gov/#/. Due to high website traffic, the public may need to refresh the web page and retry, stated county spokesperson Brian Perry. Online submissions for new claims are taken on this site from 6:30am to 11pm Monday through Friday and 9am to 11pm on weekends and holidays.
“This new [Maui American Job Center] website is designed as a one-stop shop for people looking for help with job search tools, social service agency information for residents in need and information to help struggling businesses that have been affected by the impacts of the coronavirus,” said Kay Fukumoto, director of the Maui County Office of Economic Development, in a statement Sunday.
“The state Department of Labor’s online claims system for unemployment claims has been crashing because of dramatic coronavirus-related increases in demand,” she said. “But we understand that upgrades are being made to the system-to handle the demand.”
To register for HireNet Hawaii (mandatory for unemployment insurance claimants), go to hirenethawaii.com or click on the link from the unemployment website.
Claimants who have problems completing the registration or forgot their password may call 808-270-5777.
For more information, call Karen Arakawa, American Job Center Manager, at 808-270-5777 or email: [email protected].
COVID-19 News Conference: Ige orders a mandatory 14-day quarantine for ALL individuals arriving or returning to the State of Hawaiʻi.
Gov. David Ige Saturday announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors and residents flying to Hawaii, set to begin at 12:01am Thursday, March 26. Calling it “the first of its kind in the nation,” Ige said he hoped it would send “a message to visitors and residents alike that we appreciate their love for Hawaii, but we are asking them to postpone their visit.”
Starting Thursday, arriving passengers at all Hawaii airports will be asked to fill out the state agricultural inspection form, which already requests names, phone numbers and addresses of each individual arriving in the islands. Visitors will be confined to their hotel rooms (or VRBOs or condos, although neither were addressed) and residents to their homes. The misdemeanor penalties for violating the quarantine include a maximum $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail. Only airline flight crews will be exempt from the quarantine, but will undergo temperature testing if they leave the airport premises.
“Currently, all of the positive COVID-19 cases have been linked to travel or contact with the traveler, and that’s why we believe these quarantine measures are important to further mitigate the spread of the virus and prevent it from being imported into the state,” Ige said. He added that random surveys indicate that the virus is not widespread in the community. However, actual testing remains limited.
Kenneth Hara, director of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, acknowledged that the mandatory quarantines would be “extremely challenging,” adding, “It’s going to be very difficult to enforce this.”
Holes in the plan exist. For example, when asked if visitors would be bussed to their places of quarantine, the governor said they would be responsible for finding their own transportation. He emphasized that so far, 80% of the cases have not come from tourists, but from Hawaii residents returning from other places.
The latest announcement may not be the last, Ige acknowledged. To mandate that all Hawaii residents shelter in place “is an extreme measure we may implement here. But that really is appropriate when there is widespread community spread of the virus.”
Saturday’s COVID-19 cases rose by 11 to 48 in the state, with two new cases on Maui, bringing the island’s total to 7. Oahu has 35 cases, Kaua’i and Hawai’i, 3 each. Ige said that currently, an estimated 20,000 visitors were in the islands. None will be affected by the quarantine. He said the Thursday date was established in order to give incoming tourists a chance to cancel their trips.
Ige said numbers for incoming visitors plummeted by 67% following his public request earlier in the week that visitors “postpone” trips to Hawaii for the next 30 days.
The expectation expressed at the press conference was that those numbers will drop further after Saturday’s announcement. As Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram put it, “I suspect that most people, when they become aware of this news, are going to choose to postpone their vacation to Hawaii. I don’t think there’s much appetite for spending 14 days in a hotel.”
Several hotels on Oahu, mostly in the western resort development of Ko Olina announced their closures on Saturday. They include the Four Seasons, Disney’s Aulani, the Ko Olina Golf Club and Ko Olina Marina. Mayor Michael Victorino told the Maui County Council Friday that seven hotels would close, but a request for clarification on the hotels or their locations was not answered by his staff.
Ige’s announcement came at the end of a week that saw doctors (Lt. Governor Josh Green) and politicians (Honolulu City Council, state House leader Scott Saiki, and South Maui Rep. Tina Wildberger, among others) individually demand that Ige take more stringent action by ordering all residents to shelter in place and that the governor temporarily halt all travel to Hawaii. Everyone agrees that “the most isolated community on the planet”—as Ige put it– possesses extremely limited medical facilities to handle even residents during this pandemic.
On Saturday, more than 40 Maui health providers sent a letter to Ige, Mayor Michael Victorino and others predicting up to 3,000 deaths from the virus in the next 10 days if an immediate shelter-in-place order wasn’t issued for everyone currently in Hawaii. The signers accused government officials of electing “to not interact with our professional community to seek our professional opinion or at least listen to our recommendations.”
Lt. Gov. Green, an emergency room doctor, appeared on a national Fox News broadcast hours before Ige’s press conference to announce that an “order” was coming to prevent anyone except residents and medical personnel from flying to Hawaii. When asked about Green’s statements, an Ige spokeswoman responded, “The Governor speaks for the state.” Green could not be reached for comment.
The mandatory quarantine will be enforced by individual counties, the governor said. An email asking Mayor Michael Victorino’s staff for details on local enforcement efforts was not answered Saturday.
–Deborah Caulfield Rybak, 6:18pm, 3/21
URGENT REQUEST FROM PHYSICIANS FOR AN IMMEDIATE LOCK-DOWN ORDER FOR MAUI COUNTY
From: Maui Healthcare Provider Community
To: Bruce S. Anderson, PhD, Director, Department of Health Michael Victorino, Mayor, County of Maui
Tyson Miyake, Chief of Staff, County of Maui David Ige, Governor
Maui, March 21st, 2020
We predict approximately 1,000-3,000 Covid-19 cases in Hawaii by March 31st, unless severe measures are implemented today. We are already experiencing a shortage in medical supplies in Maui County. We will be critically short on patient ventilators as soon as the virus continues to spread. We implore you to issue a shelter-in-place order effective immediately.
As members of the healthcare community on Maui, we feel that our concerns have been disregarded as none of the government officials responded to open letters sent on 3/14/2020 and 3/18/2020. It appears the officials elect to not interact with our professional community to seek our professional opinion or at least listen to our recommendations. But when it comes to severe municipal transmission and a potential surge of COVID-19 cases, you will ask us to work overtime without proper PPE and put our own lives and the lives of our beloved family members at risk. We urgently ask you to listen to us and implement immediate measures to address this crisis. Everything we do now will have an impact on the course of the disease and could help to save many lives.
Dr. Kai Matthes MD, PhD, Pediatric Anesthesiologist, Board Member Interisland Medical Group Dr. Kevin Burnes, MD, Anesthesiologist, Interisland Medical Group
Dr. Barbara Coda-Chambers, MD, Anesthesiologist, Interisland Medical Group
Sarah See, MD, Family Practice, Kihei-Wailea Medical Center
Arjun Reddy, MD, Anesthesiology
Jaclyn Reddy, RN
Dr. Avani Lakhani, MD, Gynecology, Family Physician Trina Chakravarty MD OB/GYN
Martin Newman, MD, Gynecology
Dr. Irene Papaconstadopoulos, MD, Pediatrics
Coral Yap, DO, FAAP, Pediatrics, Maui Medical Group Laura Hassen MD, Pediatrics
Thomas Spallino, MD, Anesthesiology Mehtap Berkmen, MD, ECNU,Endocrinology Brett Shapiro, MD, Ophthalmologist
Stephen Stanley DMD, General Dentistry Hannah Litt, CNM APRN, Kaiser Permanente Joy Dalmon, MD, Pediatrics
Colleen Inouye, MD, Gynecology Frank Baum, MD, Pediatrics Kaeryn Lewis, MD, Pediatrics Cyril Dalmon, MD,Ophthalmology
Marcus Griffin, MD, Kihei-Wailea Medical Center Rasa Priya Thom, RRT, Respiratory Therapist Anil Punjabi MD/MBA Cardiology
Dr. Heather Bejenaru, MD, Family Practice
Gayland Yee, MD, Family Practice, Kihei-Wailea Medical Center Kenneth B. Kepler, MD, Internal Medicine, Kihei-Wailea Medical Center Nicholas Goehner, MD, Anesthesiology
Ali Chisti, MD, MPH, Internal Medicine Hospitalist in Hawaii Dr. Tamara Bexton, DMD, General Dentistry
Linda Tetor, MD, Family Practice, Kihei-Wailea Medical Center Erica Hollander, DMD, Pediatric Dentistry
Alex Wakshinsky MD, Anesthesiology Daniel Vo, MD, Anesthesiology
Todd Miller, MD, Anesthesiology
Jesse Hollander, DMD, General Dentistry
Dr. Hana Vandervoort DMD, General Dentistry William McDermott, MD, Anesthesiology
JS DeMeo, DMD, MS, Orthodontics Lance Whitney, MD. Anesthesiology
Dr. Sonia Gupta, DDS, Hospital Dentistry
–Deborah, 1:21pm, 3/21
County of Maui offices to close to the public
on Monday, March 23
The County of Maui will be closing all offices to the public, starting Monday, March 23, to protect employees and residents against the spread of COVID-19. Contact information is available for the public on each department’s webpage. Closures may be revised and adjusted as needed.
For more information, visit the County of Maui’s website at mauicounty.gov.
–-Deborah, 9:18pm, 3/20
COVID-19 Drive Through testing to begin Monday 3/23
Drive-through testing for COVID-19 will begin Monday, March 23, 2020, at the War Memorial Gym parking lot at 700 Halia Nakoa Street, according to the Maui District Health Office.
People with respiratory flu-like symptoms and want to be tested must call to make an appointment. The testing site will not accept anyone who has not made an appointment.
To make an appointment, call (808) 270-7228. Calls will be answered from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., starting Saturday, March 21, 2020.
If the phone line is busy or there’s no answer, do not leave a voicemail. Call alternate phone numbers:
“We need everyone’s help and cooperation to make this a success,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “Per the Maui District Health Office, whether you’re tested or not, most people with mild symptoms are able to recover from home and on their own.”
Callers will be screened to see if they are eligible for testing and will be given further instructions. Screening is limited by the number of test kits available.The testing is a joint effort by the Maui District Health Office; Kaiser Clinics; County of Maui; and Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Health Systems. The mission of the drive-through testing is to minimize stress on resources and personnel at Maui Memorial.
People who need urgent medical attention should call their primary care provider or go to Maui Memorial (call ahead, if possible), which may screen and test patients, according to the Hawaii Department of Health.People who are experiencing mild to moderate symptoms should stay at home and self-quarantine in order to prevent the spread of disease. Self-monitoring and social distancing are encouraged.
Strict disease prevention measures will be in place for healthcare workers and the public who attend the drive through testing, according to DOH. People with appointments will have a dedicated lane for drive-through testing.The test for coronavirus involves taking a swab from the patient’s throat or nose. Samples will be sent to the Mainland, with results available in about three days. People who’re tested will receive instructions on what to do while waiting for test results
.The County of Maui is assisting with staging and preparing the parking lot area for drive-through testing. Entry and exit to Halia Nakoa Street, fronting War Memorial Gym, will be through the parking lot’s Kanaloa Avenue entrance from the south.The Kanaloa Avenue/Little League Field bus stop on the Wailuku Loop route 1 will not be in service starting Monday, March 23, due to the drive-thru testing. The bus stop will remain closed until further notice.“I want to thank Lt. Gov. Josh Green for coordinating with us to bring critically needed testing capabilities to our island,” Mayor Victorino said. “I also want to thank Kaiser, Maui Health Systems and our Maui District Health Office for stepping up to administer this testing, which will give us vital information to limit and learn the extent of coronavirus spread in our community.”For more information, call 2-1-1 or visit https://hawaiicovid19.com/.For more information, specific to Maui County, visit mauicounty.gov.
–Deborah, 9:16pm, 3/20
Hawai‘i Democratic Presidential Primary Walk-In Voting CANCELED
Walk-in voting for the April 4, 2020 Democratic Presidential Primary has been canceled due to COVID-19. Instead, an additional round of mail-in ballots will be sent to individuals who register to vote and enroll in the Democratic Party of Hawaii by April 4. Additional deadlines for mailing the ballots in will be provided. The party urges anyone who received a ballot to mail it in. Read more at Hawaiidemocrats.org.
–Axel, 5:10pm, 3/20
Road Closures Are Not Manned by Personnel, Baz Says
At the March 20 County Council meeting, county managing director Sandy Baz reiterated that closures of highways leading to Kahakuloa and Hana relate to non-resident use, so residents and services for residents are still allowed free travel.
When asked by Councilmember Shane Sinenci if enforcement of the rules would involve manning locations with personnel, Baz responded that “We don’t have a lot of resources to man those sites. We’re looking at other priorities. But if it becomes to be a problem, maybe we’ll have to address that and we’ll have to look at it again.”
“The main idea,” he added, “is in these remove areas that we try to prevent as much outside contact as possible so that there’s less of a spread.” Because of the locations’ geographic isolation, “we want to make sure that we prevent outbreaks in these areas specifically,” said Baz.
Baz responded to calls to end incoming tourists by pointing out that the mayor does not have jurisdiction over air travel, a federal authority, or the airport, a state authority.
–Axel, 4:50pm, 3/20
Mayor Victorino: “Seven major hotels will be closing their doors in the next week and a half to two weeks.”
At the County Council meeting held today, March 20, the Mayor Michael Victorino said that he was told seven major hotels would be closing their doors.
“I was told today — and that’s another meeting I’m having right after this with the governor and then after that with the hospitality industry — seven major hotels will be closing their doors in the next week-and-a-half to two weeks. Probably about 2,500 people or so may be out of work in that short amount of time,” Victorino said.
More to come as it is known…
Have you lost your job due to COVID-19? Wondering how you are going to pay your bills? Are you having challenges filing for unemployment? We want to talk to you and hear your story. contact us at [email protected] and [email protected]
–Axel, 4:20pm, 3/20
Confusion at Maui Unemployment Office
Individuals wandered around the State Office Building in a state of worried confusion on March 20, as closures and layoffs from the COVID-19 pandemic left many without jobs, income, or any form a reassurance that they would meet their monthly bills on time. With social distancing measures in place, those who came in person to file a claim for unemployment support or to ask for help with their claim were turned away at the door.
Some of the complaints from people who were trying to file a claim for unemployment included that the online system for unemployment claims was overloaded with traffic, calls for tech support went unanswered for hours, and those who came in person were turned away as offices have closed.
Governor Ige addressed the problems with unemployment claims in a statement released March 20, in which he asked for individuals without jobs to “bear with us.”
The state is taking the following actions, according to the statement:
- Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.
- Expanding the online claims filing system capacity and increasing the phone facilities to field inquiries and assist in the filing of claims.
- Allocating staff from other programs within DLIR and from other state agencies to facilitate claims filing, processing, and benefits.
- Registering unemployment claims with the state workforce system on behalf of workers.
- Working with employers and labor organizations to facilitate the filing of claims.
- Availability of paper forms to file for unemployment benefits and drop boxes at unemployment offices statewide and at employer worksites.
- The state will interpret Hawai‘i’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover those who are out of work because of COVID-19.
- Making the adjustments necessary to loosen eligibility requirements for claimants and reduce or eliminate experience rate adjustments for employers because of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.
Have you lost your job due to COVID-19? Wondering how you are going to pay your bills? Are you having challenges filing for unemployment? We want to talk to you and hear your story. contact us at [email protected] and [email protected]
-Axel, 4pm, 3/20
Axel, 4:25pm, 3/20 (added Gov. Ige’s statement)
Maui County Council Approves $6M in Emergency Funds for COVID-19
At an emergency meeting held Friday, March 20, the Maui County Council approved $6 million in budget amendments to allow the use of money from the county’s Emergency Fund to assist with response the COVID-19 pandemic. Four million dollars will go to support county departments, and $2 million will go to support individuals and families in need (the “Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership: A temporary emergency crisis assistance program”). The $4 million amendment passed after one reading and will become law; the $2 million amendment passed a first reading and will have to go through a second reading before becoming law.
The first bill allows $4 million dollars to be moved from the Emergency Fund for county departments that are dealing with costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill passed on one reading without the need for a second reading. (Bills are typically required multiple readings before becoming law; during an emergency the requirement for a multiple readings can be waived, as the council voted to do today.)
The request for money was “in response and preparation for the increased operational cost and emergency services for this community,” said Mayor Michael Victorino. “The departments have tripled their efforts in cleaning, sanitizing, and working for a safe work environment for not only themselves but the general public at large. Response efforts and emergency services will continue to increase.”
The mayor was unable to provide an itemized list of costs or exact amounts, saying that costs were unknown and that “it’s really hard to tell you how this emergency will move from moment to moment.” He ensured that the departments would take proper accounting measures, and managing director Sandy Baz later added that a portion of the funds will be reimbursable by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (but that can take two to three years, he said).
When asked about where COVID-19 testing was on the priority list for usage of funds, Baz answered that testing kits were the No. 2 priority.
The second bill that passed was a $2 million package to establish a temporary program designed to assist individuals in need due to a loss of employment or income from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and related business closures. The bill passed without the emergency waiver, meaning it will need to pass a second reading before becoming law. It will likely go to the council for a second reading during a Friday, March 27 meeting.
The program is designed after a similar program that was implemented to help people impacted by the economic effects of September 11. Funds could be used to assist individuals with housing, food, utility, car, insurance, and medical payments, Baz said.
“We need to address those in the private sector that do not have the coverage and the benefits that are gonna hurt the most. As we know they live check by check,” said Councilmember Riki Hokama on the need for the program. “That’s who I hope this money will be directed to. They’re already being laid off.”
-Axel, 3:55pm, 3/20
SBA Approves Disaster Assistance for Hawaii Small Businesses
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii), a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, announced today that the Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved an economic disaster declaration for the state of Hawaii due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With this disaster declaration, Hawaii businesses affected by the outbreak can now apply for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).
“The SBA’s decision today unlocks much-needed assistance for Hawaii small businesses,” Senator Hirono said. “This interim step will provide urgent support while I continue fighting to secure additional relief in any new stimulus package.”
More information about SBA’s disaster loans is available online at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/. Hawaii businesses interested in applying for these loans can download this fact sheet, and should visit https://www.sba.gov/disaster.
–Deborah, 2:55pm, 3/20
UH campuses are closed to all except students and employees
In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi are closed, effective immediately, to everyone except current students and employees.
The UH campuses are UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH West Oʻahu, UH Maui College, Leeward Community College (CC), Kapiʻolani CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauaʻi CC and Hawaiʻi CC.
This is the latest step being taken for the health and safety of UH students and employees. The university announced on March 18 that it is transitioning to an online delivery of courses for the remainder of the spring semester. The closure of public-facing facilities and establishment of a process for employees to work remotely from home are in effect. Employees who are working on campus and students who come to campus or reside in student housing are instructed to practice social distancing.
HAWAII COVID-19 Infections Jump to 37; No New Maui Cases
Covid-19 case numbers jumped Friday to 37 on Friday, with 11 new infections reported by the State Department of Health. No new cases on Maui, though. Per island: Oahu 24 (10 new), Maui 5 (0 new), Kaua’i 3 (1 new), Big Island 1 (0 new). No information was given on whether the new cases were travel-related.
–Deborah, 1:12pm, 3/20
Grab-and-Go Meals Offered at Public Schools
The Department of Education is offering breakfast and lunch to children who are 18 years old and younger. The grab-and-go service will be available during the extended school closures on Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 8am for breakfast, and Monday through Friday from 11:30am to 12pm for lunch.
Maui schools sites for grab-and-go meals are at Hana High & Elementary, Kahului Elementary, Kalama Intermediate, Lahaina Intermediate, Lanai High School, and Molokai High.
“There will be no personal interaction between the Hawaii State Department of Education employees and the community,” said a DOE spokesperson in a March 19 statement. “All meals will be placed in containers. Meals will be located outside of the cafeteria, preferably closest to a driveway or other natural access point on the campus. There will be no access to the cafeteria.”
In the statement, a schedule for the phase in of workers was also announced, barring any future changes:
- April 3: Custodians, principals and administrators return to work.
- April 4-5 (weekend): Custodians continue deep cleaning of campuses.
- April 6: Teachers return to work to prepare classrooms.
- April 7: Students return to school.
“Closing our schools will help safeguard the health of our children, teachers, staff and surrounding communities as we fight against the spread of COVID-19,” said superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We appreciate the support and commitment of our public school ‘ohana as we collectively navigate these uncharted waters.”
The Department has also canceled events involving large gatherings. Graduation ceremonies, which are typically held in mid to late May, have not yet been rescheduled. Any changes to grad ceremonies will be announced at a later date.
-Axel, 1:05pm, 3/20
Tourists Ignoring Road to Hana Closure
Tourists are continuing to drive the road to Hana, which was closed to anything but local traffic by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) earlier this week. The restriction was established Wednesday to address access and congestion concerns due to roadwork along the two-lane highway. Although an electronic message board by the Haiku Community Center informed drivers of the closure between Kaupakalua Road and Hana Town, MauiTime watched jeeps, convertibles and other cars with hotel parking tags dangling from rear-view mirrors drive past the Kaupakalua Rd. cutoff point, which lacked further signage or personnel to enforce the restriction. A Maui Police Department spokeswoman said the closure was not issued by the department, so enforcement was up to HDOT. A spokeswoman for HDOT said Friday that, aside from telling rental car companies to inform drivers, there were no personnel available to enforce the closure.
MauiTime spoke with Hana Highway Regulation Road monitor MaryAnn Pahukoa, who acknowledged that tourists were still driving the road today, “but way less than normal.” She said that HDOT personnel fixed the hard-to-read electronic sign and that volunteers were “monitoring” the road today and would decide if further action was needed by tomorrow.
–Deborah, 9:36am, 3/20
Updated 11:22am, 3/20
Hawaii House Leader Scott Saiki’s Letter Urging Gov to “Shut Down” State for 15 Days
–Deborah, 9:12am, 3/20
Mayor’s Video Statement; Clarifications, Little News
During a 16-minute video “press conference” Thursday Mayor Michael Victorino “clarified” the Public Health Emergency Rules Maui County issued last night (see earlier story on this site) to include his decision to close Waiehu public golf course, but offered little else in the way of new information.
During what was billed as a “press conference” –but featured no media and no questions–Victorino said he decided to change his decision to leave the municipal golf course at Waiehu open, mainly because of the rakes used in sand bunkers. “If someone is sick, grabs a rake. then puts in back down and you followed that individual, you could contract the Coronavirus.” He added that his decision could change in the “near future if the demand or the requests are high and we can put a guarantee to safety.”
He did not address recent protests at airports on Molokai and Maui demanding a stop to tourist arrivals, saying only, “I wish I could go to the airport, shut the gates and let no one in. Unfortunately this is America and it has to be a federal mandate to have that happen.”
Yesterday, Kaua’I Mayor Derek Kawakami issued a press release saying “visitors should not be traveling to our island for recreational purposes,” declaring “Kaua’i is on vacation.” (He also declared a nighttime curfew from 9pm-5am until further notice). Gov. David Ige Tuesday asked tourists to postpone their Hawai’i trips for at least 30 days. Victorino has asked only that visitors “reconsider” their Maui travel plans.
Victorino also did not address the decision reached during a meeting today between state senators and transportation officials (see story on site) that will create a mandatory 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving at Hawai’I airports.
The mayor clarified his decision to close “tourist attractions,” explaining that he meant only the ones “that are for tourists.” He said operations such as the Lavender Farm in Kula, the MauiWine operation in Kula, and the Maui Brewing Company could stay open because “they make collaborative products.” He said they will be allowed to continue to make those products, but without tours allowed.
While discussing the health care field, Victorino mentioned that “chiropractors” and “massage” would be allowed, but to “remember social distancing,” without addressing that both professions require a hands-on approach.
Victorino said enforcement of his rules would be made by law enforcement officials using a “compassionate and common sense approach. We’re not out there to bust people. This is not like driving under the influence…that’s a whole different game.” He said his rules, which were set to stay in effect for 60 days, would be “reassessed” in two weeks.
Victorino concluded his remarks by saying that the number of cases in the state had “jumped by 30-something” today, which contradicted the 26-case number (5 on Maui) released earlier Thursday by the Hawaii Department of Health (see story on site).
In an interview broadcast after Victorino’s statement, South Maui state representative Tina Wildberger questioned why Maui’s small businesses and laid-off employees were suffering while tourists were still allowed on island. She added she has sent a letter to the governor and the mayors of each island asking them to work more closely together to consolidate their approaches to the COVID-19 crisis in Hawaii, because “constituents are confused.” (See below) For example, Hawai’i mayor Harry Kim has issued no restrictions at all, declaring the county “open for business,” and letting bars, restaurants and churches “make their own decision” as opposed to differing levels of containment expressed by the other island mayors and Gov. Ige.
–Deborah, 6:21pm, 3/19
South Maui Rep. Tina Wildberger’s Letter to Gov, Mayors
–Deborah, 7:06pm, 3/19
Sen. Dela Cruz Says Airport Quarantines Coming
Hawaii Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz said today in a post that, after a meeting with DOT Airports, a required 14-day quarantine for all passengers will be required for any incoming passengers. DelaCruz said officials are now “working to get approvals and finalizing logistics.”
Willie Nelson Performing Live Right Now on Facebook, Luck Reunion Website, Twitch
News getting you down? Willie Nelson and dozens of his friends, including Paul Simon, Edie Brickell, Lucinda Williams, Jewel, Margo Price and Nathaniel Rateliff are performing at the “Til Further Notice” live-streaming concert now on Facebook, Twitch and on the luckreunion.com website. Some musicians will perform at the Arlyn Studios in Austin, Texas, but most will be singing from their own living rooms and home studios. The concert runs until 6pm tonight.
–Deborah, 3:51pm, 3/19
10 New Coronovirus Cases bring State Total to 26; 5 on Maui
The number of COVID-19 cases jumped Thursday, with health officials reporting a new total of Oahu: 18 cases (8 new), Maui: 5 cases (2 new), Kaua’i 2 cases (0 new) and Hawai’i, 1 case (0 new). The two new cases on Maui were travel-related, officials said. Mayor Michael Victorino will hold a live video update at 5pm today on Akaku Maui Community Media Ch. 54 and Facebook Live, County of Maui Facebook page.
The Hawaii State Capitol was closed Thursday after Sen. Clarence Nishihara tested positive for COVID-19. The positive test triggered an immediate closure of the Capitol, per the Legislature’s Emergency Operations Plan.
–Deborah, 3:24pm, 3/19
Acts of Aloha
How some Mauians are reacting to our island crisis
Since she married and moved to Kula, teacher Mary Anna Grimes has rented her Napili condo to local residents. This week, after contemplating ways she could be of service to others–while being conscious of staying healthy–she wrote her property manager. “I told her to tell the renters not to worry about paying April rent. One of my renters works as a nurse and her husband just got laid off from his restaurant,” she told MauiTime. The manager’s response was stunning. “She wrote me back and said she is now going to write all her clients and suggest that they reduce rent on their properties.”
–Deborah, 2:46pm, 3/18
Do you have an Act of Aloha to share? Send an email to [email protected].
Front Street, Lahaina Goes Dark
A view of Front Street last night, March 18. Restaurants and bars have been ordered to close by Maui Mayor Michael Victorino, effective 7:45am on Friday, March 20. Take out and drive through service are permitted. Violations are punishable by a fine and/or jail time. The order follows Governor David Ige’s March 17 request for a closure of bars, clubs, and dine-in service at restaurants. The University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization estimated on March 10 that COVID-19 would result in “job losses of nearly six thousand workers by the third quarter of this year, and a very restrained pace of hiring for the next several years.” Hawaii News Now reported that the state is seeing a sharp increase in unemployment claims. There were 1,500 new unemployment claims Monday, followed by 3,000 on Tuesday. The entire prior week, from March 9-13, there were less than 1,300.
–Axel, 1:20pm, 3/19
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
Previously the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance announced that it would coordinate with the Hawaii Governor’s Office to certify the state for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance.
Since the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program should become available in the next week to businesses that are being impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19), it is important to know how you can start preparing today.
Go to below website for details: https://invest.hawaii.gov/sba-economic-injury-disaster-loan-program/
For any questions, please contact
Phone: (808) 587-2750
@ Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism
Business Development & Support Divisionhttps://invest.hawaii.gov/sba-economic-injury-disaster-loan-program/
–Deborah, 12:22pm, 3/19
Lt. Gov. Josh Green: Suspend All Non-Essential Flights to Hawaii
In an early morning Facebook post, Hawaii Lt. Gov. Josh Green–a doctor–issued suggestions to slow the spread of COVID-19 that far exceeded Gov. David Ige’s pronouncements to date. In the post, headlined “Slow the spread of the virus to save lives,” Green wrote, “Friends, If we want to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawaii we must do this:
- We suspend all non-essential travel to Hawaii through 4/30/20.
- Anyone who comes to Hawaii gets 2 weeks in quarantine.
- We contact test every positive case and isolate them completely.
- We continue to study the states that are 2-4 weeks ahead of us to prepare for all of our needs.
- We stand up extra Hospital capacity (with military support) the second we see it could help.
Bonus: screen at airports, order millions more masks and swabs.
This is the model that worked in Taiwan and Singapore and they lived.
This is the only way to prevent our healthcare system from being overrun and to save lives, especially Kupuna.
The opposite approach of inadequate follow up and inadequate testing failed, and lives were tragically lost.”
Green, an emergency room doctor on Hawaii Island, is not alone in his concern. This week almost 100 Hawaii doctors and medical providers petitioned Gov. David Ige to mandate the shutdown of all non-essential businesses and order residents to stay home to stop the rapidly spreading virus.
Ige’s spokeswoman Cindy McMillan told the Honolulu Star Advertiser Thursday that Hawaii “can expect more stringent measures to be introduced.
“And we want to assure everyone that any direction or mandates made will be based on facts and what’s best for our communities,” she said.
–Deborah, 9:45am, 3/19
Hawaiian Airlines Reduces April Flight Schedule 40%
Hawaiian Airlines is reducing its flight schedule systemwide by nearly 40 percent in April as the state of Hawai‘i deals with increasing COVID-19 cases and resulting government restrictions and pronouncements impacting travel. Hawaiian remains focused on supporting its guests’ travel needs and minimizing disruptions as it closely evaluates challenging market conditions to guide network adjustments.
To keep guests informed, Hawaiian today launched an updated flight schedule grid with the latest status on affected routes. The carrier’s COVID-19 hub also lists travel waivers that will provide guests flexibility when booking and changing flights, and describes enhance cleaning measures to keep employees and guests safe.
Key changes announced today include:
- Tahiti: Suspending nonstop service between Honolulu (HNL) and Papeete (PPT) due to new arrival restrictions by the French Polynesian government mirroring recent requirements imposed in Australia and New Zealand. The last HNL-PPT roundtrip will operate on March 21. Service is scheduled to resume in May.
-Changing from daily to six weekly nonstop flights between Honolulu (HNL) and Osaka’s Kansai Airport (KIX), from April 6-28.
-Changing from four to three weekly nonstop flights between Honolulu (HNL) and Fukuoka (FUK), from April 5-June 1.
- North America:
-Suspending for the month of April nonstop service between Kahului, Maui (OGG) and Las Vegas (LAS) operated with narrow-body Airbus A321neo aircraft after the flight from LAS to OGG on March 31. Hawaiian will continue to offer daily nonstop service between Honolulu (HNL) and LAS with wide-body Airbus A330 aircraft.
-Suspending for the month of April a second daily nonstop flight operated with A321neo aircraft between Honolulu (HNL) and Seattle (SEA) and San Francisco (SFO). Hawaiian continues to offer daily service between HNL and both SEA and SFO with A330 aircraft.
-Adjusting flight frequencies on select Hawai‘i-North America routes. Details are available here.
- Neighbor Island: Reducing some service frequencies where demand is lowest, while preserving important connectivity between the Hawaiian Islands with a network of more than 100 daily flights in April. Hawaiian is suspending daily nonstop service between Kona (KOA) and Līhu‘e (LIH) after March 31 and affected guests will be accommodated via Honolulu or Kahului, Maui (OGG).
–Deborah, 8:34pm, 3/18
Mayor Victorino Announces Public Health Emergency Rules for Maui County
Mayor Michael Victorino Wednesday evening announced a number of public health emergency rules scheduled to take effect at 7:45am Friday March 20. The rules include a requirement that restaurants close for table service and offer only take-out and delivery-a more strict mandate than Governor David Ige’s request, made at a press conference Tuesday.
In addition the new rules curtail public gatherings and vehicular transporation, with some exceptions.
“We need to take dramatic action to limit the spread of this infectious virus,” Mayor Victorino said. “We cannot do this alone, so we’re asking our community to follow these rules and look out for one another as we face this unprecedented crisis.”
Victorino’s announcement differed from that of Kaua’i Mayor Derek Kawakami who on Wednesday implemented a nightly curfew and asked that airline travel to the island be limited to essential needs only, asking visitors to stay away (see story below). Victorino asked visitors only to “reconsider” their travel plans to Maui.
Maui County’s new rules require restaurants and cafes that serve food within the premises to close; however, take-out and delivery service may continue.
Bars, nightclubs, theaters, tourist attractions, and other venues where the public gather must remain closed.
Grocery stores, farmers markets, supermarkets, food banks, convenience stores and gas stations that engage in the retail sale of canned food, dry goods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supply, fresh meats, fish, and poultry, and other household consumer products, gasoline and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences may remain open.
Many stores are already voluntarily providing dedicated kupuna shopping periods, especially in the morning hours, for those over 60 or those of any age with medical conditions. The new rules require that all stores selling essential goods provide dedicated shopping hours for these higher-risk groups.
Essential activities, which are exempt from the rules, include:
1. Tasks essential to maintain health and safety, such as obtaining medicine or seeing a doctor.
2. Getting necessary services or supplies for an individual or that individual’s family or household members, such as getting food, pet food, and supplies necessary for staying at home.
3. Engaging in solitary or small group outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking, running or golfing provided that you maintain at least six feet of social distancing.
4. Performing work related to operation of an essential business or essential government function (defined below).
5. Caring for a family member in another household.
6. Caring for elderly, minors, dependents, person with disabilities, or other vulnerable persons.
Exemptions that relate to operation of essential business functions include:
1. Healthcare operations, including home health workers.
2. Essential infrastructure, including construction of housing and operation of public transportation and utilities.
3. Businesses that provide necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals and shelter facilities.
4. Pharmacies, health care supply stores, and health care facilities.
5. Gas stations and auto repair facilities;
7. Rubbish collection;
8. Hardware stores, plumbers, electricians, and other service providers necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and businesses.
9. Laundromats and laundry service providers.
10. Businesses that primarily ship or deliver groceries, food, and goods.
11. Childcare facilities providing services that enable essential employees to go to work.
12. Roles required for any Essential Business to “maintain basic operations,” which include security, payroll, and similar activities.
“Although the County will make changes to its normal operations to safeguard employees and the public, the County will remain open to serve our residents and the business community,” Victorino said. “These rules are necessary not only to address the spread of the virus, but also to allow our first responders, emergency personnel, and medical professionals to perform their critical functions with as much community support as possible.”
When asked by MauiTime if there would be consequences for breaking any of the new rules, county spokesman Chris Sugidono replied, “Our primary focus is to look after the health and safety of our community. Technically, violation of any of the public health emergency rules is punishable as a misdemeanor, with fines of up to $5,000, up to a year in jail, or both. However, we continue to ask for the public’s help and understanding as we take action to slow the spread of this virus.”
Other provisions of the rules include suspension of regular meetings or hearings conducted by boards and commissions, although they may be conducted via alternate methods where possible.
The County is restricting travel on Pilani Highway from Ulupalakua to Kipahulu and on Kahekili Highway from Waihee to Kahakuloa village to local traffic only.
Earlier Wednesday, the State Department of Transportation announced that it was closing Hana Highway from Kaupakalua Road to Hana Town to anything other than local traffic.
“While we take these actions, I am still encouraging our residents to go outside, go on a walk, get some exercise, and for this purpose, County beach parks will remain open at this time,” Mayor Victorino said. “I continue to ask the public to stop hoarding supplies, help your neighbor and remain calm as we face this crisis together.
“Maui County is on pandemic lockdown and we’re telling all visitors to reconsider their travel to the islands during this emergency. Please help us to keep our communities safe and minimize the spread of the coronavirus.”
General information and resources on COVID-19 (coronavirus) can be found on the County of Maui’s website at mauicounty.gov. For more information and updates, please visit the State DOH website at https://health.hawaii.gov/ and CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/.
–-Deborah, 6:56pm, 3/18
“Kaua’i is on vacation.” Mayor implements curfew, discourages tourists
Kaua’i Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami today announced an island-wide curfew from 9pm to 5am daily beginning Friday. He also discouraged visits to the island, saying, “Kaua’i is on vacation,” and asked that airline travel to and from the island be limited to “essential needs” only. “Until further notice, visitors should not be traveling to our island for recreational purposes.”
Kawakami urged vacation industry “partners” to stop marketing Kaua’i as a place to visit in order to protect the health and safety of the community.
There are exceptions to the nightly curfew, including: traveling to and from work, working for an essential services provider, delivery services associated with food service establishments and stores, and seeking medical attention.
“We understand that these measures will result in hardships for many of our business owners and residents, Kawakami added. “But the longer it takes us to make these drastic decisions, the longer it will take use to get to a point of economic recovery.”
As of Wednesday, Kaua’i had two presumptive positive COVID-19 cases, both travel-related.
–Deborah, 6:45pm, 3/18
Road to Hana Closed to All Except Local Traffic
The Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that Hāna Highway (Route 360) between Kapakalua Road and Hāna Town would be restricted to local traffic until further notice.
The local access restriction is being put in place to address access and congestion concerns due to roadwork and vehicles along the two-lane highway. HDOT is currently installing slope stabilization measures on Route 360 near Papaaea Road that requires a 24-hour lane closure.
Hawaii state Sen. J. Kalani English said in a video press conference Tuesday (see below) that he was asked by residents if he could do anything about the busloads of tourists coming through East Maui, and had forwarded those concerns to Maui Emergency Management personnel. In the meantime, the HDOT announcement would appear to solve that issue, along with Maui County’s decision to close the back road to Hana, from Ulupalakua to Kipahulu.
English thanked the state and county for the road closures, saying, “On a typical day, thousands of rental cars drive the narrow Hana Highway and congregate at lookouts and parks. During this emergency we need to keep the highway open for residents of East Maui, delivery trucks, and first responders. We cannot have thousands of tourists from around the world causing traffic and entering closed parks, coming into contact with one another and our residents. As a resident of Hana, I know that the majority of our economy in East Maui depends on tourism and that this pandemic is causing a major hardship, but when we’re choosing between saving lives and the conomy, health must come first.”
An electronic message board informing the public of the local traffic restriction will be placed near the Haʻikū Community Center.
–Deborah, 8:16pm, 3/18
Maui Humane Society Temporarily Closes to Public
Starting Thursday, March 19, The Maui Humane Society (MHS) will temporarily close to the public and suspend low priority functions until further notice.
Limited services will be offered to the public by appointment only. This includes: animal surrenders, adoptions and lost/found services. Appointments can be made by calling (808) 877-3680 ext. 3 between the hours of 11-5pm. For a complete list of all programs and services affected by this closure, please visit the Maui Humane society website at www.mauihumanesociety.org.
Maui Humane Society Enforcement officers will continue to provide 24-hour service to answer high priority and emergency calls. Those calls include injured or sick and stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, dangerous and aggressive dog complaints, and more. MHS is asking that the public to please suspend calling MHS to report low priority/non-emergency activity including non-aggressive stray animal pick-up, leash law and licensing complaints, barking and nuisance complaints.
MHS will also be temporarily suspending all spay/neuter services for owned animals. If a customer has a previously scheduled appointment for their pet between March 23 and mid-April, that appointment is cancelled and they will be waitlisted for a future appointment. Owners will be given priority when the spay/neuter clinic opens again. Please note that all spay/neuter surgeries scheduled now through Friday, March 20 are still happening. Additionally, all TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) surgeries for community (feral) cats will not be affected and all previously scheduled appointments will be honored.
To donate or for more information about Maui Humane Society, please visit the Maui Humane Society website at: www.mauihumanesociety.org or call (808) 877-3680. Please note that the changes listed above are as of Wednesday, March 18 however based on the uncertainty surrounding this issue, circumstances may change and other services/programs may change without notice. Please check the MHS website for the most updated information.
–Deborah 8:40pm, 3/18
Maui Community and Business Leaders Asked to Complete SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Survey
SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance is coordinating with the Hawai‘i Governor’s Office to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan Assistance. Capital loans of up to $2 million can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.
Maui County is urgently requesting business leaders to fill out the survey and submit it to Hawai‘i State Dept. of Business, Economic Development and Tourism.
The deadline is 4pm, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Steps:
- Download the survey form from https://invest.hawaii.gov/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Economic-Injury-Worksheet-051410-003.pdf
- Fill out survey
- E-mail to [email protected]
The county asks all to share this message with as many business owners you know as possible.
-Axel, 12:10pm, 3/18
BREAKING: Public Schools to Remain CLOSED Until April 7
The Department of Education announced today that students are anticipated to return to school on April 7. This adds another week to the previous extension of spring break. Additional details will be made public at a press conference Thursday at 3pm. It will be streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/HIDOE808.
HIDOE employees will start remote work on March 19.
-Axel, 11:30am, 3/18
Hawaii Animal Rescue Foundations Cancels Adoption Events
In an effort to keep pets and people safe amid the COVID-19 crisis; HARF has canceled community dog adoption events through April 1st. At this time, adoptions are available by appointment only and subject to change. Please feel free to contact HARF at 808-876-0022 if you have any questions. They are still caring for the animals and available by phone.
–Deborah, 11:20am, 3/18
SixtyTwo MarcKet to Remain Open for Diners
Despite Governor Ige’s announcement yesterday that he is directing restaurants to limit service to drive-through and take-out options, Sixty Two MarcKet in Wailuku said Wednesday, Mar. 18 that they are still open for dining in “with social distance of at least 6 feet when seating guests.”
The breakfast menu is now available all day long. Online order and payment is encouraged via sixtytwomarcket.com and 808-793-2277.
“We will launch meal prep service later this week,” said a spokesperson. “We will assess the situation on a daily basis while still figuring out ways to provide good food to our local community.”
-Axel, 10:55am, 3/18
Maui Brewing Co. Closed Until Further Notice, In Talks About Manufacturing Hand Sanitizer
Maui Brewing Co. announced Wednesday that its Kihei location is closed effective immediately.
On Twitter, a brand spokesperson responded to a question from a teacher asking if the company could help with manufacturing hand sanitizer for schools during the current supply shortage.
TheChive.com recently reported on a Portland distillery that used waste from the distilling process to create sanitization products that were distributed for free.
“We can consider it, but not guaranteeing availability,” the MBC account responded. On Tuesday the company added, “While we have the ability and are actively working towards making sanitizer that can be legally distributed, we are still subject to the laws of our Country, State and Local Governments.
Today, the company appeared to be moving forward: “We appreciate the support,” it wrote. “We have contacted all legal entities with regards to compliance and will notify everyone as things progress. We have the capability and are here to help once we have any approvals to do so. Mahalo!”
–Axel, 10:45am, 3/18
Changes at Maui Humane Society
Effective Monday, March 23, Maui Humane Society will be shortening public hours to 11-5pm and will be offering limited services to the public. These services include: pre-scheduled animal surrenders and scheduled adoptions, as well as lost/found services.
MHS will also be temporarily suspending all spay/neuter services for owned animals starting Monday, March 23 (appointments until this Friday are still scheduled). If a customer has a previously scheduled appointment for their pet between March 23 and mid-April, that appointment will be cancelled and they will be waitlisted for future appointments.
To promote proper social distancing, the public is asked to postpone any non-essential activities such as dog license renewals and cat trapping.
MHS is following the guidelines provided by the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) regarding Animal Control and Sheltering Services during the COVID-19 crisis. NACA is advising animal shelters to take extra measures to reduce shelter intakes to mitigate the short and long-term effects of COVID-19.
This will mostly affect owner-surrendered animals, which make up about 25 percent of MHS’ intake, said MHS CEO Steve MacKinnon. MHS is asking non-urgent cases to postpone any animal surrenders for up to four weeks. If the need is immediate, MHS will take animals on a pre-scheduled basis. To schedule an animal surrender contact 808-877-3680 ext. 3.
Potential adopters are also asked to call ahead. From March 23 until the end of the month, there is a special, discounted $20 adoption fee for adult dogs.
Maui Humane Society Enforcement officers will still be working 24 hours a day, but are asking people to refrain from calling for low-priority incidences such as non-aggressive stray animal pick-up, leash law and licensing complaints, barking and nuisance complaints, trapping and transport of community cats, etc.
Appropriate high-priority incidences include injured or sick and stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, dangerous and aggressive dog complaints, and more.
MHS is asking people to foster stray or lost animals if possible. Since animals don’t often travel far from home, this can help the animal get found. People who have found a stray or lost pet can take it to a veterinarian or MHS to have the animal checked for a microchip identification.
Foster “parents” are also needed for sheltered animals and to be “on-call,” in case the shelter reaches critical capacity. MHS provides vet care, crates, supplies, and food. Sign up to be an on-call foster by emailing: [email protected]
“Our main focus at this point is on reducing the overall number of animals housed at the shelter,” MacKinnon said. “It’s a predictable pattern that when people feel uncertain or worried, we tend to see an uptick in animal surrenders. Reducing intakes and maintaining outcomes is essential to avoid overcrowding in the shelter especially as we are uncertain how long this crisis will continue.”
Other Programs/Services/Events being postponed/cancelled effective March 23: Beach Buddies, all pet training including Agility, Rally Obedience and CGC classes, Freddie’s Birthday Party/Easter Egg Hunt on April 11, all New Volunteer Orientations including upcoming class scheduled for Saturday, March 21. Additionally, the acceptance of gently used items such as towels, sheets, bedding, newspaper, etc. are being temporarily suspended effective immediately.
MHS is also advising pet owners to make plans in case someone in the home falls ill. People should stock up on two extra weeks of pet supplies and identify a pet sitter who can help out if the pet owner is unable to care for their pet.
The World Health Organization has found no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through cats or dogs.
For the latest updates and news from MHS, visit Mauihumanesociety.org
-Axel, 9:55am, 3/18
All Three Maui Movie Theaters Announce Closure
In a press release to theatergoers on their website Consolidated Theatre announced they are temporarily shutting down operations as of March 17, 2020. Siting the ongoing concerns of COVID-19, and the federal, state and local government recommendations.
“In light of the ongoing concerns regarding COVID-19, in line with the direction, regulations and recommendations of federal, state and local government authorities, we are temporarily closing to the public until further notice, effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The health and well-being of our guests and our theater teams is our top priority, and we believe that this step will be the most effective way to both retain that priority and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
If you have purchased advance tickets on our Consolidated Theatres website or mobile app for a movie that will be impacted by their closure period, you will receive a refund for both the cost of your ticket and the online service fee. If you purchased via any third-party platform, including Fandango, refunds will be processed by that third party.”
Kihei’s Regency Theatre will be closed starting Thursday March 19th.
Regal issued a statement on their website about their temporary closure beginning March 17.
“Regal announces closure of all theatre locations starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, as a precaution amid the current circumstances. All theatres will remain closed until further notice. Please check back soon. We look forward to serving you again as soon as possible.”
-Jen Russo 8:15am, 3/18
Gov. Ige Holds Press Conference, Asks Visitors to Postpone Trips and Bars to Close
At a press conference held at 3pm on March 17, Governor David Ige emphasized the message that “Social distancing is the most effective way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” Ige also outlined new directions and steps he is taking to slow the spread of the pandemic.
The governor asks tourists to postpone their trips to Hawaiʻi for at least 30 days. Starting Friday, he said, all passengers from cruise ships will undergo thermal screening and interviews conducted by physicians to determine possible infection. Airports will implement screening of arriving visitors “soon.” Discretionary travel of residents is discouraged, and non-essential travel by state employees is canceled. State employees that have to travel will be quarantined.
The governor also said that social gatherings of more than 10 people should be canceled, and bars and clubs should be closed. Restaurants should adjust operations to pivot to drive-through, take-out, and pick-up service only. High risk individuals, such as senior citizens and those with compromised immune systems should stay home. All are asked not to visit nursing homes, retirement homes, and long-term care facilities. If someone has tested positive for coronavirus, the entire home should be isolated.
Hotels are not being asked to close, but are being asked to follow guidelines for social distancing.
Non-essential state workers are asked to work from home, following a determination from their department director. Essential functions and critical infrastructure including vital government operations, stores, and utilities will remain open with support from the government.
Ken Hara, director of HI Emergency Management Agency and the “incident commander” for the pandemic, added that issues of stock depletion at stores are not due to supply chain interruptions, but a lack of large store houses in the state. Stocks were depleted by emergency buying but the supply chain is intact.
State libraries will be closing temporarily. There will be no late fees for the time being, and online resources will remain available.
Schools are still planned to resume instructional services on March 30.
The number of positive COVID-19 cases in Hawaiʻi reached 13 according to the state Department of Healthʻs 12pm update on March 17.
South Maui Rep. Tina Wildberger was dismayed by the economic impact of Ige’s restaurant decision. “I am just stunned that our state leadership has closed food and beverage establishments–now reduced to take-out–across the state, but left incoming flights from the mainland to bring infected visitors fleeing COVID-19 saturated municipalities,” she said Tuesday. “South Maui has over 300 opportunities to get something to eat or drink. That’s thousands of jobs vanished into thin air. I would have preferred to see establishments left open for local people to patronize, while practicing good sanitation and social distancing and, instead, close flights from the continents.”
-Axel, 3:55pm, 3/17
MACY’S Closes Until March 31
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Macy’s, Inc. announced today that it will temporarily close all stores until March 31. Benefits and compensation will be paid to its impacted workforce.
“The health and safety of our customers, colleagues and communities is our utmost priority. As a result of the recent COVID-19 developments, we have decided to temporarily close our stores. We will work with government and health officials to assess when we will reopen our stores and safely bring our colleagues back to work,” said Jeff Gennette, chairman and chief executive officer of Macy’s, Inc. “During this closure, we will continue to serve our customers through our e-commerce sites.”
-Deborah, 2:35pm, 3/17
Eviction Activities Suspended Temporarily
The Hawaii Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division is suspending all eviction activities as part of the Department’s COVID-19 response efforts.
“In light of the Governor’s recent State of Emergency declaration, the Judiciary limiting court proceedings, and the rapidly evolving situation, we felt it was in the best interest of our community to suspend these actions,” said Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda.
The temporary hold on evictions is effective immediately. This suspension will be reevaluated at a later date.
-Jen Russo 2:21pm, 3/17
A Message on COVID 19 from Our Senators
-Jen Russo 1:46pm, 3/17
Haiku Hoolaulea and Flower Festival Canceled
“We cannot put our community at risk,” said Maile Davis of the Haiku Community Assn. in announcing the cancellation of the annual event on Saturday April 25. The decision to cancel the popular event and fundraiser for the Haiku School PTA was “tough,” Davis said. “But we cannot in good conscience take the chance that we would be contributing or risking the spread of the COVID-19 virus in our community, particularly to our kapuna.” Davis added that moving the event to one of the last two weekends May had been considered, but that there were too many “logistics” involved during a month when many other activities are already planned, such as the end of school, May Day and graduations.
-Deborah 9:46am, 3/17
Support Your Local Restaurants: Buy “Bonds”
Maui’s restaurants are among businesses hardest hit by the COVID-19 restrictions issued by federal, state and county agencies. Some are closing, many are cutting back on service, hours or seating. Here are some ways to help our restaurant industry cover expenses–and protect workers–during the next few months:
*Buy Gift Cards: Many restaurants offer gift certificates or cards and can collect revenue as soon as one is purchased. If you buy one now, you don’t have to use it immediately to help your local restaurant through these tough times.
*Try Take-Out: Many area restaurants are shutting down in-house service, but offering take-out menus. Don’t forget to keep tipping!
Call your local favorites and find out how you can continue to support them in the weeks to come.
–Deborah 9:27am, 3/17
Kahumoku’s Slack Key Show Closed Until April 1
Facing restrictions on audience size and concerns from performing artists, staff and audiences about health risks during the Covid-19 pandemic, George and Nancy Kahumoku will close the Slack Key Show in Napili until April 1st. Please check www.SlackKeyShow.com for further updates.
-Deborah, 8:40am, 3/17
Maui OnStage Suspends Schedule
Maui OnStage has suspended all performances, venue rentals and classes until further notice. It is the organization’s intent to move forward with classes on March 30th and to open the production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on April 24th. Maui OnStage is monitoring all updates from the state and county and will issue updates on any further changes.
-Deborah 8:35am, 3/17
Haleakala National Park Issues Temporary Closures
Haleakala National Park will have the following temporary closures until further notice:
*The Summit District of the park will be closed daily from 3:00am-7am. All Sunrise Reservations are canceled until further notice.
*All visitor centers, including Haleakala Visitor Center (9,740 feet), Headquarters Visitor Center (at 7,000 feet), and the Kipahulu Visitor Center will be closed.
*All backcountry access in Wilderness areas will be closed. This temporary closure includes day-use on Halemau’u, Keonehe’ehe’e (or Sliding Sands), Kaupo trails, and all Crater trails; and cabin reservations and primitive wilderness campgrounds at Holua and Paliku.
*All special events and guided programs, including hikes, walks and talks, and night sky programs are canceled until further notice.
Where it is possible to adhere to the latest health guidance, Hosmer Campground, Kipahulu Campground, all overlooks and front country trails including the Hosmer Grover Trail, Pipiwai Trail, Kuloa Point, and Kahakai Trail will remain open to provide healthy options for the public use. Visitors should expect reduced services and emergency response may be limited. Updates will be posted to the park website www.nps.gov/hale/planyourvisit/conditions.htm and social media channels.
The health and safety of our visitors, employees, volunteeers, and partners at Haleakula National Park is our number one priority. The National Park Service (NPS) is working with the federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation. We will notify the public when we resume full operations and provide updates on our website and social media channels.
The NPS urges visitors to do their part when visiting a park and to follow CDC guidance to prevent the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining a safe distance between yourself and other groups; washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; and most importantly, staying home if you feel sick.
For high-risk populations, such as the elderly and people with underlying conditions, we ask that they take extra caution and follow CDC guidance for those at higher risk of serious illness.
-Deborah, 8:30am, 3/17
Afterglow Yoga Cancels Classes for Next Two Weeks
Afterglow Yoga will temporarily cancel classes at its locations in Wailuku, Kihei and Lahaina until April 1st. “Our intent is to allow the community (including all of our staff) to feel safe during this time,” the company said in a press release. Memberships and passes will be extended during the two-week period.
–Deborah, 8:11am, 3/17
MAPA Programs on Hold
Effective immediately, the Maui Academy of Performing Arts will suspend its educational programing and its Spring Extravaganza. All dance and drama classes for all ages will be paused until further notice. The length of the pause will be determined by the success of the COVID-19 virus’ containment, according to executive director David Johnston. “We are hopeful that, by sacrificing now and working together for the greater good, in the coming weeks new CDC guidelines will clear us to once again gather together. At that time our plan is to resume our programs moving forward from where we left off. That means re-instating spring semester classes,” Johnston said.
-Deborah, 8:04am, 3/17
Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce Suspends All Gatherings Indefinitely
In support of collective efforts to contain community spread of COVID-19, the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce has suspended all gatherings until authorities declare it is wise to resume. This includes the “Talk Story” networker originally scheduled for April 14, 2020. MHNCoC urges everyone in to follow guidance from State and County officials and to follow important containment instructions within your own household.
–Deborah, 7:56am, 3/17
Updates from Big Brothers/Big Sisters Hawaii
Starting this week, for the first time ever, Big Brothers/Big Sisters Hawaii (BBBS) will interview volunteers via videoconferencing or phone, in response to pandemic protocols. The BBBS team, working remotely, will interview youth in need of a mentor on calls and videos. “Most importantly, our Match Support Specialists will continue to serve as a hub for hundreds of families–providing resources for those who may be affected by loss of income, food insecurity, leack of healthcare, and anxiety due to the uncertainities related to COVID-19,” the organization said in a press release.
–Deborah, 7:51am, 3/17
Old Lahaina Luau Reduces Seating Capacity
In response to social distancing concerns for large events or gatherings, the Old Lahaina Luau has decreased its seating capacity by 25%, reducing seating from 8 guests to 6 guest maximum per table and providing plated dinner service instead of the normal, buffet-style dinner according to Kawika Freitas, director of public and cultural relations. “We have taken increased measures with cleaning and sanitization of our entire property on a daily basis as the health and safety of our staff and guests are always our highest priority.” Freitas said the leadership team at one of the island’s largest tourist operations is meeting daily to evaluate news updates and “to take a pulse on employee sentiments and concerns. We are trying to support our ‘ohana of employees in every way possible including by continuing operations in the safest healthiest way possible– with the complete understanding that those decisions may be out of our control at any time in the near future.”
–Deborah, 7:40am, 3/17
Charley’s Closes For Two Weeks
After announcing Monday that it would suspend all shows and performances until further notice, owner Jonathan Herman said Tuesday that the iconic North Shore bar and restaurant will close at least for the next two weeks. “This decision weighs heavily on me,” Herman said in an email, adding “I believe our health, the health of our loved ones and community must come first.”
Herman made the decision “even though our state and local government is not taking action. I believe this is the right thing to do. St home – Stay Healthy!”
–Deborah, 12:49pm, 3/17
–Deborah, 7:30am, 3/17
Queen Kaahumanu Center to Remain Open, Community Events Postponed
Queen Kaahumanu Center stated today that it is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and will remain open. Hours for individual stores may vary, so contacting shops for operating hours before visiting is advised. Community events have been postponed until further notice.
“We are doing everything we can to maintain a safe environment for the well-being of our entire shopping center community,” stated a release from QKC. “We are disinfecting high-traffic and high-touch locations throughout the center. Examples of these include restrooms, doors, railings, and furnishings. QKC is working with our housekeeping vendors in increasing the frequency and intensity of cleaning.”
-Axel, 5:55pm, 3/16
Mayor Victorino Requests Additional Funding
The mayor announced today that he is submitting a bill amendment to the County Council to request $4 million from the Emergency Fund. The funds would help the county deal with the impacts from COVID-19.
“This would provide immediate funding for previously unanticipated costs related to COVID-19 (coronavirus),” Mayor Victorino said. “County departments are responding to and preparing for increased operational and emergency services for the community. The passage of the proposed amendment would allow the departments the ability to move quickly and efficiently in our efforts to protect our communities from the virus and provide emergency relief when necessary.”
-Axel, 5:45pm, 3/16
Maui Health Announces Changes to Maui Hospital Procedures
Maui Health announced expanded assessment procedures and visitation policies for Maui hospitals today. These include:
Maui Memorial Medical Center: A “rapid assessment” area has been set up at the Emergency Department entrance as an extension of the current triage tent area and to help with patient flow. Hospital visitation is now limited to one visitor per patient and no children under the age of 14.
Kula Hospital: No visitors are allowed except for compassionate care cases. The ED has a triage area to assess patients prior to entry.
Lanai Community Hospital: No visitors are allowed except for compassionate care cases. The ED has a triage area to assess patients prior to entry.
Additionally, all community classes and support groups have been cancelled until further notice.
-Axel, 5:35pm, 3/16
Maui DMV to Limit Occupancy, Waive Fees, and Suspend Driving Tests
Effective tomorrow, March 17, the Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing will begin restricting the amount of customers that enter its office to no more than 10 people, the county announced today. Credit card convenience fees at self-service kiosks, such as those at the Kalana O Maui Building and Safeway, will be waived starting March 18. The fees will be waived until June 30, 2020. All driving tests, commercial driving and skills tests, and motorcycle skills tests will be suspended, effective Wednesday, March 18.
The county also announced that Kihei and Lahaina DMV satellite offices will be limited to five waiting customers due to the size of its offices. All other customers will be required to wait outside of the office. These offices utilize a cell phone pager system that text waiting customers when they are fifth in line to enter the office. Molokai and Lanai DMV satellite office will be limited to two waiting customers due to the size of its offices. All other customers will be requested to wait outside.
The announcement follows today’s White House recommendation that advises the public to avoid gatherings of no more than 10 people.
-Axel, 5:30pm, 3/16
Ten Positive COVID-19 Cases in State
The Department of Health reported that as of 3:30pm on March 16, there are 10 positive COVID-19 cases in the state. The three new cases are from Oahu (2) and Maui (1, a visitor).
Screening sites are now open in Maui County, but due to limited resources only certain individuals will be tested. The DOH states:
COVID-19 testing is not for individuals who are well or experiencing mild to moderate flu-like symptoms
To help manage available healthcare resources for the public statewide, DOH advises everyone to take the following steps:
- Stay home if you are experiencing mild to moderate flu-like symptoms.
- Call ahead to your healthcare provider before going to a healthcare
- If your doctor would like you to come in for a screening, bring a photo ID and insurance card.
- If your doctor decides that you meet the criteria for COVID-19 testing, he or she will provide a lab order for the test and take the swab for testing.
- The specimen will be sent to a private or state lab for the results.
For the list of screening sites, click here.
–Axel, 5:25pm, 3/16
Maui Redevelopment Agency Meeting Cancelled
The March 23 meeting of the MRA has been cancelled. The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Friday, April 24, 2020 at 1pm in the Planning Department’s Conference Room. Those with questions can contact the Department of Management at 808-270-6258.
-Axel, 4:10pm, 3/16
County Closes Youth Centers and Senior Program
The county announced a 30-day closure of youth centers and the Kaunoa Senior Services’ Congregate Nutrition Program and Leisure/Wellness Program today. The news follows the county’s closure of its fields, pools, gyms, and other facilities, including public restrooms. It also comes as the Department of Education has announced a week-long extension to spring break.
“These temporary closures are an effort to limit the spread of coronavirus in our community, especially among our most vulnerable populations,” Mayor Michael Victorino said. “The closures are also in line with CDC recommendations to avoid large groups of people. I ask the public to continue working with us as we take steps to flatten the curve of a potential outbreak.”
The Boys and Girls Clubs of Maui, Kihei Youth Center, the Paia Youth and Cultural Center, Hana Youth Center, Molokai Youth Center and Lanai Youth Center will be closed for 30 days.
The Kaunoa senior programs will be closed and all classes and activities suspended countywide from March 17, 2020, to March 31, 2020. Kaunoa’s Assisted Transportation and Home Delivered Meals Program will remain fully operational. Kaunoa’s offices will remain open for normal business hours.
-Axel, 4:05pm, 3/16
State Legislature Suspended Due to COVID-19
The proceedings of the State Legislature are suspended as concerns of coronavirus have urged postponements of large gatherings of people. Starting tomorrow, March 17, the legislature will be suspended indefinitely until such a time as determined by House Speaker Scott K. Saiki and Senate President Ronald D. Kouchi.
“We’re currently at a point in the legislative session where key legislation is being advanced and members of the public feel compelled to be here to testify on important issues,” said Speaker Saiki in a statement. “We want to protect those who would otherwise feel compelled to be here.”
“On any given day, hundreds of people visit and work at the State Capitol. To combat the spread of COVID-19, it is important that we limit gatherings, especially those involving vulnerable populations,” said Sen. Kouchi.
Legislative leaders will assess the situation daily, and Kouchi and Saiki will issue a written memorandum announcing the day and time the legislature is to reconvene.
-Axel, 3:15pm, 3/16
Governor Ige Issues Supplemental Emergency Proclamation, Announces First Case of Community Spread
On Monday Mar. 16, Governor David Ige issued a supplemental emergency proclamation for the COVID-19 pandemic. Among its directives, the proclamation authorizes Hawaii Emergency Management director Ken Hara to be “incident commander” in charge of aligning federal and local responses to the outbreak. The proclamation also waives certain state laws, which Ige said was necessary to allow for social distancing. Among the suspended laws are HRS Chapter 91 and 92, which includes the Sunshine Law and Uniform Information Practices Act.
The one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance claims will also be waived for claimants who are unemployed due to COVID-19.
At a press conference, Ige said that, as of today, he believes the state has seen its first case of COVID-19 community spread (previous cases had recently visited areas with infection). Details will be supplied later today. Ige emphasized that shipment of supplies and cargo is continuing uninterrupted and urged against hoarding.
When asked if he was considering a public lockdown or closure of bars and restaurants, Ige said that his administration is looking at all options, but has not decided that a lockdown or mandatory closure is necessary at this time.
-Axel, 3pm, 3/16
Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) Calls for IRS Tax Deadline Extension
Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) has joined a call for an extension to the individual tax filing deadline due to the impacts of COVID-19. The regular filing deadline is April 15, 2020. The letter, which was signed by other senators, reads “Given the growing nationwide concerns regarding the potential spread and the resulting economic and public health impact of such an outbreak, we urge you to act quickly and remove one source of stress that individuals face during this crisis. The American people should not have to worry about filing IRS forms in the middle of a public health emergency.”
-Axel, 12:30pm, 3/16
County of Maui Facilities to Close for next 30 Days
Mayor Michael Victorino announced that County of Maui fields, pools, gyms and other facilities, including public restrooms, will be closed for the next 30 days starting Saturday, March 14, 2020, due to increased precautions regarding COVID-19. The Department of Parks and Recreation is asking people with canceled permits for events that had been scheduled at community centers from March 16 through April 16 to contact park district offices. Parks staff will offer to provide them with refunds for permits or check on facility availability on later dates.
County community centers will close starting Monday, March 16, 2020.
The public is advised that the temporary closure may be extended, depending on health and safety concerns related to the coronavirus.
“To protect our players and their families, we recommend that our local sports leagues take added precautions and temporarily suspend all league activities until further notice from the County,” Mayor Victorino said. “We are constantly monitoring this virus and will reopen facilities as soon as we believe it is safe for our families, especially our children and kupuna.”
County offices will remain open for regular business.
County beach parks and its restrooms will remain open.
Waiehu Golf Course will also remain open, until further notice.
The district offices and phone numbers are:
- Department of Parks and Recreation Main Office in Wailuku, (808) 270-7389.
- East District office in Makawao, (808) 572-8122.
- Hana District office, (808) 876-4582.
- Lanai District office, (808) 565-6979.
- Molokai District office, (808) 553-3204.
- South District office in Kihei, (808) 879-4364.
- West District office in Lahaina, (808) 661-4685.
The closure of community centers is due to increased precautions. The temporary closure may be extended, if necessary, depending on health and safety concerns. The Department of Parks and Recreation is working with permittees and providing assistance through the temporary closure period. If you have any questions or need assistance, please call its office at 270-7389.
-Jen Russo, 12:25pm, 3/16
MACC Announces a Pause in Programming
MACC President and CEO Art Vento stated, “The arts have historically been a source of comfort, inspiration, and respite during trying times, so it is with both concern for the present and hope for the near future that we make this decision to limit public interactions during this period of threat to public health. We understand the social responsibility of an institution like the MACC, and strive to help keep the whole community healthy in mind, body, and spirit. This is a pause in the programming ― an intermission, in theater terms. We look forward to the day when we can announce a resumption in schedule, and continue to bring the enriching power of the arts to all on Maui. We will remain in contact with any further updates through our website, email and social media sites.”
SPECIFIC SCHEDULE CHANGES:
Programming originally scheduled for the upcoming weeks include the following list of events at MACC venues. Many events have been postponed and rescheduled; the new dates, if known at this time, are given. Some events have had to cancel.
· Artist 2 Artist: Henry Kapono & Paula Fuga (3/13) – postponed to Friday, MAY 29
· Jake Shimabukuro (3/14) – postponed to Saturday, MAY 23
· Starr Kalāhiki (3/21) – postponed; new date TBA
· Simrit Live on Maui (3/22) – cancelled; new date set for March 21, 2021
· Lucky Plush “Rink Life” (3/26) – postponed; new date TBA
· Proof of Loyalty (3/28) – postponed to Friday, JUNE 26
· Daryl Hall & John Oates (3/39) – postponed to Wednesday OCTOBER 21
· Kendall Dean (4/3) – possible new date TBA
· Derek Warfield (4/5) – cancelled
· Meshell Ndegeocello (4/9) – postponed; new date TBA
· Artist 2 Artist: Henry Kapono & Keola Beamer (4/10) – postponed; new date TBA
· Starry Night Cinema (4/10) – postponed; new date TBA
· Allman Betts Band (4/17) – cancelled
· Maui Choral Arts (4/19) – cancelled
· School band concerts (Maui High, Lahainaluna, King Kekaulike) – cancelled for now
· Arts education events (teacher workshops, CanDo! Days) – cancelled for now
· Art Maui exhibit – closed
Patrons are asked to please check the MACC website (MauiArts.org) and social media platforms this coming week, as well as upcoming email announcements, for more complete information on a show-by-show basis.
Specific ticketing and exchange info can be addressed by the MACC Box Office. Regular telephone hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm; phone 808-242-SHOW (7469).
-Jen Russo, 12:20pm, 3/16
Maui County Council to Continue Legislative Work, Coronavirus on Tuesday’s Agenda
Maui County Council Chair Alice Lee said in a statement Monday, March 16, that the council will continue to do legislative work. Testimony will still be accepted, but the public is encouraged to submit it via email or fax.
“[W]e know we will need to make changes in the way we do business,” said Lee. “We all want to assure the public we are monitoring official guidance closely and taking action at our offices to protect everyone who does business with the council. Decisions will be made as transparently as possible and won’t be made hastily. Additionally, we are working on a telecommunications system to allow people to testify from their homes and will release the information as soon as the system is operational.”
Lee added that the following actions are being taken to ensure the public’s health and safety during this time:
- Limiting in-person meetings and physical interactions.
- When meetings are required, keeping participants at least six feet away from each other.
- Encouraging email testimony rather than in-person testimony.
- Establishing a telecommuting policy.
- Requiring frequent hand washing and cleaning of hard surfaces.
The council’s Healthy Families and Communities Committee will meet Tuesday, Mar. 17 at 9am. to receive a public-health update from the state Department of Health.
-Axel, 12:15pm, 3/16
Department of Education Extends Spring Break Through March 27 for Public Schools
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, keiki will get an extra week off for spring break. That means students, who are started spring break this week, are currently planned to return to school on Monday, March 30. In a March 15 statement, the department said the extra week will allow schools to “plan for implementation of social distancing within the school setting, arrange for professional development to support modified operations, and thoroughly clean schools.”
Additionally, “all planned school and Department-coordinated events of more than 100 attendees are being canceled, effective Monday, March 16, until updated guidance is provided by health officials,” stated the department. However, “Graduation ceremonies, which are normally held in mid-to-late May, have not yet been modified; scheduling announcements will be made at a future date.”
“Public schools serve as hubs of care in our communities, from access to health care to providing free and reduced price meals,” said superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto. “We intend to restart school immediately once it is deemed safe to do so to reduce disruption to our school communities and provide consistency for our children.”
–Axel, 11:10am, 3/16
Maui Visitor Tests Positive for COVID-19, Placed In Isolation at Lahaina Facility
The state Department of Health reported Sunday, March 15, that a Maui visitor has tested positive for COVID-19. The individual is “in isolation at a Lahaina facility,” the department said. Currently, DOH reports 7 positive COVID-19 cases in Hawaii.
-Axel, 11:00am, 3/16