Hawaii - COVID-19 Covered

Hawaii

Total Cases: 643 (May 27)
Tests Administered: 50,371 (May 25)
Fatalities: 17 (May 27)
Testing:
  • Hawaii will receive $50 million in federal aid to build a contact tracing program. (May 13)
  • Governor Ige announced that the University of Hawaii is partnering with the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) to build a program to train personnel and community health workers in conducting COVID-19 contact tracing. (May 13)
  • The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) began using a digital tool to follow up with individuals who have had close contact with a person identified by the DOH as having COVID-19. (April 30)
  • Individuals having difficulty accessing medical care or have questions about how to care for themselves at home should call Hawaii’s Department of Health at (808) 586-4586. (March 22)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • Hawaii Senator Kalani English and Representative Lynn DeCoite sent a letter to Governor Ige requesting National Guard members be deployed to “enforce travel restrictions in and out of these areas, enhance community policing efforts and maintain law and order.” (April 11)
  • Governor Ige designated specific services to continue operating, including grocery stores, gas stations, cargo carriers, wholesalers, banks, pharmacies, telecoms and utilities and other critical infrastructure. (March 23)
  • The governor has activated the National Guard. (March 23)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • Governor Ige announced that florists could begin operations May 1, as long as employees and customers can adhere to social distancing requirements. (April 27)
  • The Attorney General’s Office joined a letter signed by 19 other attorneys general urging 3M to take steps to stop price gauging of their masks. (April 21)
  • Governor Ige relaxed regulations on healthcare systems including licensing, the definition of “healthcare volunteers,” granting immunities from certain civil liabilities, and defining “rendering assistance.” (April 17)
  • Governor Ige activated four units of the Hawaii National Guard to aid the Hawaii Emergency Management Operations Center, Hawaii’s Joint Information Center, and help disburse medical supplies and personal protective equipment. (April 3)
  • Governor Ige signed an executive order allowing out of state physicians to dispense prescriptions without registering with Hawaii officials, and permitting the Department of Human Services to relax childcare guidelines, establish an employment and training fund, relax unemployment qualifications, and expand telehealth and online notary services. (March 29)
  • Hawaii is suspending annual tuberculosis clearance requirements for food handlers, patients in long-term care facilities, patients in long-term care facilities, children entering childcare, preschool or school, and Post-secondary school students and employees. The Department of Health will continue to require TB clearances for new healthcare workers, new childcare and school employees, and new residents of long-term care facilities. (March 25)
  • Hawaii launched the Reducing Unemployment Disruption & Driving Economic Regeneration (RUDDER) program to train unemployed individuals for government positions and reduce unemployment. (March 23)
  • Governor Ige announced that benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late and that Hawaii will interpret its unemployment laws as broadly as possible to cover those who are out of work because of COVID-19. (March 23)
  • In order to process an influx of unemployment claim filings, claim processing, and benefit allocations, the governor has allocated additional staff. (March 23)
  • Governor Ige closed theatres, entertainment centers, public libraries and parks, convention center and stadiums, and visitor attractions, while also suspending services and activities in places of worship. (March 17)
  • Governor Ige announced that the state will waive a waiting period for unemployment claims related to COVID-19. (March 16)
  • The Hawaii House referred legislation (64) to Hawaii Committees on Transportation and Health that would urge all commercial airlines operating in Hawaii to thoroughly clean and disinfect their aircraft between flights. (March 10)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Hawaii lawmakers outlined a plan to close a $1 billion gap in the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year by using money from the rainy day fund, reducing vacancies in state bureaucracies, and issuing bonds. (April 12)
  • The Hawaiian Homes Commission granted economic relief to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Applicant Waiting List beneficiaries, lessees, licensees, and permittees on Department land. (April 21)
  • Governor Ige ordered a moratorium on evictions. (April 17)
  • Governor Ige announced that Alan M. Oshima will lead the Hawaiʻi Economic and Community Recovery & Resiliency Plan, which is a three-prong economic plan to stabilize Hawaii’s economy, promote recovery, and build resiliency to prevent future economic upheaval. (April 8)
  • Hawaii will defer mortgage payments made directly to the state Department of Hawaiian Homelands for six months, starting on April 9. (March 24)
  • Hawaii has called on people to not hoard supplies and also directed individuals to report instances of price gouging to the state’s Office of Consumer Protection. (March 16)
  • The Hawaii House established (54) the Select House Committee on COVID-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness. (March 3)

Business Support & Resources:

  • The Hawaii Department of Agriculture announced that they will distribute $200,000 in grants to 96 farmers in a second round of emergency assistance that followed 106 grants totaling $270,000 in April. (May 15)
  • Hawaii has received an official statewide disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration allowing small businesses to apply for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans. (March 23)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders:

  • No records found as of May 26.
  • The Hawaii Attorney General has urged the state Supreme Court to stop the early release of inmates due to COVID-19. The Attorney General said that public safety outweighs virus risks as there are no COVID-19 cases in state correctional facilities currently. (May 21)
  • Governor Ige signed the 8th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, which outlined the state’s four stage reopening plan. Phase one involves the reopening of low risk businesses. Phase two would reopen the “Hawai‘i’s Kama‘āina Economy,” and would entail reopening medium-risk businesses and activities, before beginning the re-opening of high-risk businesses and activities. Phase three would entail rebuilding Hawaii’s economy and reopening the high-risk businesses. Phase four would be for building resilience. (May 18)
  • Governor Ige signed the 7th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, which would allow the first phase of businesses reopening in the state starting May 7. Non-food agricultural businesses, auto dealerships, car washes, licensed childcare services, pet groomers, observatories and support facilities, retail and repair services, including those in shopping malls, are included in phase one. Maui and Oʻahu Counties were excluded. (May 5)
  • Governor Ige extended a supplementary proclamation that ordered the entire state to stay at home and work from home, with a $5,000 fine for violations. Those working in essential industries or obtaining services from them were exempt. The eviction moratorium and inter/intra state traveler self-quarantine requirements were also extended with this order. The order is extended through May 31. (April 25)

Curfews:

  • No records found.

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Ige approved the reopening of Hawaii County public beaches with social distancing guidelines to be enforced. (May 19)
  • Governor signed the 8th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, which extends the mandatory 14-day quarantine for state visitors and interisland travelers through June. (May 18)
  • Governor Ige announced that he plans to reopen “low contact” retail stores. Beaches have also started to reopen. (May 4)
  • Governor Ige expanded social distancing guidelines, encouraging all individuals to wear masks, limiting two people to boats, and limiting fishing and hiking groups to two individuals. (April 17)
  • Governor Ige announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all interisland travel that is not conducted by essential businesses and infrastructure. (March 30)
  • Governor Ige “strongly encouraged” visitors to the postpone their trips to Hawaii and began implementation of screenings for all cruise ship and airplane passengers entering the state. He called for limiting social gatherings to groups of 10 people or less and for people to avoid discretionary travel. The governor also directed people to not visit nursing homes or retirement or long-term care facilities. (March 17)

Delivery Services:

  • The Hawaii Department of Health issued safety, health, and capacity guidance for restaurants that would be reopening during Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan. (May 21)
  • Governor Ige issued an executive order allowing county liquor commissions to authorize the sale of unopened beer or wine with food take out or delivery, while he also gave the commissions greater flexibility for administrative procedures. (April 17)
  • Governor Ige directed all bars and clubs to close, while restaurants would only be able to fulfill drive-thru, take out, pick-up, or delivery orders. (March 17)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • The Hawaii Department of Education announced that they will be replacing all public and charter school 2020 graduations with “alternative celebrations” that they are still working to fully develop. (April 15)
  • The Hawaii Department of Education published guidance documents stating that public schools will not reopen until there is a four-week period of no new COVID-19 cases. (April 9)
  • Governor Ige signed an executive order allowing charter school boards to conduct businesses without public meetings. (March 29)
  • The Hawaii Department of Education has extended the closure of all schools. (March 24)
  • Student grab-and-go meals and will be available starting March 27. (March 24)

State Higher Education:

  • Graduating high school seniors have been granted an extension of deadlines until August to apply for University of Hawaii four-year campuses. (March 25)
  • All 10 of Hawaii’s public universities moved to virtual learning, though dorms, libraries, computer labs, and eateries remain open. (March 12)

Produced by Marathon Strategies, an independent PR firm that delivers intelligent communications and research solutions. For information, email Phil Singer at COVID-19@marathonstrategies.com