Rep. Lowen Named to U.S. Department of Energy’s Electricity Advisory Committee

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has named Representative Nicole  Lowen (D-6 Kailua-Kona, Holualoa)  as a new member of the Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC), which provides advice to the DOE in implementing the Energy Policy Act of 2005, executing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, and modernizing the nation’s electricity delivery infrastructure.

Representative Nicole  Lowen

Each member is appointed by U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette for a two-year term beginning on July 1, 2020. The group reports to the DOE’s Assistant Secretary for Electricity and meets three times a year to advise DOE on a variety of electricity issues.  

Representative Lowen ) is the Chair of the House Energy & Environmental Protection Committee.

“As EAC members we advise DOE on current and future electric grid reliability, resilience, security, sector interdependence, and policy issues,” said Representative Lowen. “My goal is bring Hawaii’s unique perspective to the conversation, and to further our nation’s commitment to renewables, resilience, and a clean energy future.”

The 35 members of the EAC are from state governments, regional planning entities, utility companies, cyber security and national security firms, the natural gas sector, equipment manufacturers, construction and architectural companies, non-governmental organizations, and other electricity-related organizations. Rep. Lowen will be one of two elected officials in the nation to serve on the committee.

Census Bureau Activates Additional Operations to Ensure Accurate 2020 Census Count

With about 4 in 10 households having yet to respond to the 2020 Census, the U.S. Census Bureau today announced it is on track to conduct multiple follow-up activities aimed at ensuring a complete and accurate count. Census Bureau staff will conduct the following operations over the next several months:

Coverage Improvement: The Census Bureau began making follow-up calls to some households that have already completed the 2020 Census. The goal is to make sure everyone in a household was counted, and to validate information provided when they completed the census questionnaire. Census call center agents began making calls on April 22. If the household does not answer a call, agents will leave a voicemail with a 12-digit ID as a reference number. This effort is set to continue through the end of the response phase on October 31. 

Nonresponse Followup: The Census Bureau routinely “soft launches” operations to ensure systems, operations and field plans work as they should. Starting in mid-July, census takers from six area census offices (one per Census Bureau region) will begin the operation of interviewing households that have yet to respond to the 2020 Census. The six area census offices will be announced by the beginning of July. Additional area census offices may be announced for a second wave soft launch to occur later in July. Aside from area census offices that are part of a soft launch, the remaining area census offices will begin the Nonresponse Followup on August 11 and conclude no later than October 31. All census takers will be trained on social distancing protocols. They will be issued personal protective equipment (PPE) and follow local guidelines for their use. 

Nonresponse Followup Reinterview: In some cases, a second census taker may visit a household to conduct a short interview to ensure the quality of our data collection activities. These reinterviews are meant to confirm every census taker followed our training and did their jobs correctly. The reinterview will be conducted by a different census taker than the one who originally visited the household. The Nonresponse Followup Reinterview operation is scheduled to run from August 12 to October 31.

Post-Enumeration Survey: After a household has already completed the 2020 Census, census takers will visit a select number of households as part of the Post-Enumeration Survey. The Census Bureau conducts this survey to measure the coverage of housing units and people residing in housing units in the 2020 Census. To that end, census takers will gather the following information:

  • Current residents of the housing unit.
  • People living in the household who may or may not have been there April 1 (Census Day).
  • People who moved out of the household between April 1 and the time of the interview.

The information collected for each person includes name, sex, age, date of birth, race, relationship to householder, and Hispanic origin. The interviewer also collects information about alternate addresses to establish where people lived on Census Day, according to census residence rules. Post-Enumeration Survey interviews are set to take place September 23 to December 22.

The Census Bureau urges the small percentage of households that are contacted during the Nonresponse Followup Reinterview and Post-Enumeration Survey operations to take a few minutes with the census taker to help ensure the quality of the 2020 Census.

All census takers have official ID badges that include their name, photograph, a U.S. Department of Commerce watermark, and an expiration date.

The Census Bureau conducts all operations with two key principles in mind: (1) protecting the health and safety of our staff and the public, and (2) fulfilling our statutory requirement to deliver the 2020 Census counts to the president on schedule. We are working closely with national, state and local health authorities to ensure all of their guidance is incorporated into our operations.

The U.S. Constitution mandates a census of the population every 10 years. Census statistics help determine the number of seats each state holds in the U.S. House of Representatives and how billions of dollars in federal funds will be allocated to states and communities for the next 10 years.

No news release associated with this announcement. Tip Sheet only.

For more information, visit 2020census.gov.

Governor Ige Orders Flags at Half-Staff on Memorial Day, and in Honor of Victims of Coronavirus Pandemic

At the direction of the President of the United States, Gov. David Ige has ordered that the United States flag and the Hawai‘i state flag will be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard in the State of Hawai‘i, immediately — until sunset on Sunday, May 24, 2020. This action is a mark of respect for the victims­­­­ of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

In addition – Gov. Ige orders the United States flag and the Hawai‘i state flag be flown at half-staff at the State Capitol and upon all state offices and agencies as well as the Hawai‘i National Guard in the State of Hawai‘i, on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2020 until noon.

The President proclaims Memorial Day a day of prayer for permanent peace and designates 11 a.m. as the hour in each locality that people might unite in prayer. He also asks that Americans observe the National Moment of Remembrance beginning at 3 p.m. local time Memorial Day.

The president’s proclamations:
Honoring the Victims of the Novel Coronavirus Pandemic
Memorial Day: Prayer for Peace

CDC Releases Resources to Assist States Opening

Across America, states and localities are experiencing different phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have chosen to begin moving gradually and strategically toward resuming civic life. To help states, tribes, localities, and territories, as well as businesses and community organizations operate as safely as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released two new resources to aide in reopening.

Click to view the report

The first, CDC Activities and Initiatives Supporting the COVID-19 Response and the President’s Plan for Opening America Up Again, summarizes CDC’s initiatives, activities, and tools in support of the whole-of-government response to COVID-19. The document includes information on general and healthcare surveillance as well as previously posted guidance on infection control, contact tracing, and testing. Additionally, the document includes a standardized way to look at the gating criteria in the Opening Up America Again guidance and tools to assist establishments after they open; this is a supplement to the decision trees CDC released May 14.

The second resource is a set of health considerations to be used by summer campsschoolsyouth sports organizationsinstitutes of higher education, and restaurants and bars, that are open. Considerations documents are concrete, actionable resources that focus on four categories of safeguards:

  • promoting behaviors to reduce spread,
  • maintaining healthy environments,
  • maintaining healthy operations, and
  • preparing for when someone gets sick.

Decisions and strategies about how to operate are implemented at the state, tribal, local, and territorial levels because every locale is different, and individual jurisdictions have the authority and local awareness needed to protect their communities. CDC is continuing to work with state, tribal, local, and territorial leaders to provide technical assistance, and resources that can help support decisions about how Americans begin to re-engage in civic life while adhering to mitigation strategies such as social distancing, hand-washing and wearing face coverings.

Census Bureau to Resume Some 2020 Field Operations in Select Locations

The U.S. Census Bureau, in coordination with federal, state and local health officials, will begin a phased restart of some 2020 Census field operations in select geographic areas this week.  

Updates on the operations resuming by location are available at 2020census.gov. This webpage will be updated weekly as 2020 Census operations resume across the United States.

The health and safety of Census Bureau staff and the public is of the utmost importance. All returning staff will receive safety training to observe social distancing protocols in the COVID-19 environment. For their safety and the safety of the public, the Census Bureau has ordered Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for all field staff, including those that work in a field office. These materials will be secured and provided to staff prior to restarting operations.

As part of the phased restart of operations, the Census Bureau will resume dropping off 2020 Census invitation packets at front doors of households in areas where the majority of households do not receive mail at their home. This operation is also known as Update Leave. About 5% of households are counted in the Update Leave operation, where census workers will confirm or update a household’s physical location address and then leave a census questionnaire packet.

The Census Bureau began delivering census materials to these households on March 15; however, this operation was suspended on March 18 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Update Leave operation does not require interaction between households and a Census Bureau employee and follows the most current federal health and safety guidelines. In states where we have resumed the Update Leave operation, we are also resuming fingerprinting for new hires to keep applicants moving through the hiring process. ACO staff will begin returning to the office as necessary to support the Update Leave operation, as well.

The Associate Director for Decennial Programs leads the operational team making the decision to restart select operations within an ACO, driven by the assessment of career Census Bureau operational leadership; a thorough review of the operating status of a state, locality or tribal area; the key data that support that operating status as identified by federal, state and local guidance; and the ability of Census Bureau staff to safely resume operations, including the procurement of PPE.

Households that receive the 2020 Census invitation packets are strongly encouraged to respond promptly to the 2020 Census using the census ID included in the questionnaire packet. People can respond online, by phone or by completing and returning the paper form by mail. Responding with the census ID or by completing and returning the paper questionnaire helps ensure the best count of their community.

For more information, please visit the 2020 Census COVID-19 operational adjustments page.

Flatten the Curve SURVEY: Hawaii Experiencing Most Financial Worry

Sharecare, the digital health company helping people manage all their health in one place, today announced initial results and insights from more than 115,000 responses it received in April for “Flatten the Curve” – the national survey it developed in partnership Dr. Sandro Galea, dean of the Boston University School of Public Health, and Publicis Health Media to better understand community well-being and behavior change during the COVID-19 pandemic. While 98% of Flatten the Curve respondents indicate they did their part to slow the spread of COVID-19 and 36% are experiencing more feelings of gratitude, the data points to a significant increase in worry across the United States – estimated as more than 230% – due to the pandemic.

Sharecare’s Flatten the Curve survey completed by 115,000 Americans in April, finds respondents in Hawaii experiencing most financial worry while those in Mississippi and Alabama report least

“When Boston University and Sharecare launched the Community Well-Being Index last year, we articulated a vision to create a unique, practical application of population health science principles that transforms health locally as well as globally,” said Dr. Galea. “With that in mind, our initial analysis of responses to Flatten the Curve confirms many of our fears – in particular, that our stress and mental well-being is being challenged in a myriad of ways – but also bears some glimmers of hope in terms of many people’s chosen health behaviors. In the weeks and months ahead, we must not only continue to do our respective parts to mitigate the spread of the virus, but also urge organizations to seek innovative solutions to proactively support their populations and the communities they serve to make the healthier choice the easier choice throughout this pandemic and beyond.”

In the weeks since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), communities around the country have been affected by shelter-in-place orders, extended business closures and increased demands on healthcare systems. According to Flatten the Curve, 9 in 10 Americans are impacted by feelings of worry about the novel coronavirus and 1 in 5 report severe levels of stress and anxiety. Further, relative to the economic impact that COVID-19 is having on the country, survey results suggest that Americans are experiencing a significant amount of financial worry, with 65% of national respondents indicating worry about their retirement funds and 22% noting they are “very worried” that the U.S. will enter an extended recession. When examining state-level financial worry as a result of COVID-19, Flatten the Curve finds that:

  • Respondents in Hawaii are most likely to be worried about their retirement funds (72.5%), followed by Wyoming(72.3%), North Dakota (70.4%), Rhode Island (70.35%), and Oregon (70.1%). 
  • Respondents in Mississippi are least likely to be worried about their retirement funds (58%), followed by Georgia(60%), Oklahoma (61.1%), Tennessee (61.5%), and Arizona (62%). 
  • Respondents in Hawaii are most likely to be “very worried” about the possibility of an extended recession (28%), followed by New Jersey (25.5%), Massachusetts (25.4%), Vermont (25.3%), and Delaware (25.1%). 
  • Respondents in Alabama are least likely to be “very worried” about the possibility of an extended recession (18%), followed by Georgia (19%), Mississippi (19%), Oklahoma (19%), and Tennessee (20%). 

“The connection between health and wealth is well documented, both for individual factors like financial worry as well as community-level social determinants like economic stability,” said Elizabeth Colyer, senior vice president at Sharecare and head of the Community Well-Being Index. “During this unprecedented time, we see a unique situation in which financial worry is intensifying across all socioeconomic levels, and, in parallel, economic social determinants are increasing the divide between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots.’ So while personal perceptions and risk are impacted across all populations, it is our community context – the physical and social surroundings as they relate to the ways we live and act – that continues to divide us, creating the need to deliver interventions that address both individual risk and institutional inequity.”

More than one-third of national respondents to Flatten the Curve report experiencing one or more financial stressors, including change in pay, likelihood of retaining employment, and ability to pay bills. Among national respondents in the workforce, 23% report pay decreases while 12% indicate job loss, and 22% note they are likely to lose their job in the future due to COVID-19. Further, 27% of respondents indicate that they are somewhat or very likely to have trouble paying their bills, while respondents with no health insurance are five times more likely to have trouble paying their bills than those with health insurance. Research on Flatten the Curve also found that each type of financial stressor tracked was associated with higher odds of experiencing negative health behavior changes across exercise, eating habits, sleep and alcohol consumption – of which 58% of Flatten the Curve respondents exhibited one or more of since COVID-19. 

While results from Flatten the Curve shed light on many challenges facing the country at this time, there also are signals pointing to some positive outcomes as more than 50% of respondents indicate they are engaging in at least one healthier behavior change since COVID-19. When reviewing respondent data across health behavior elements surveyed, the following national and statewide trends emerge:

  • Exercise: Among national respondents, 70% are exercising more or maintaining their previous routine while 30% are exercising less during COVID-19. When examining exercise trends by state: 
    • Respondents in Alabama are most likely to be exercising as much or more since COVID-19 (77%), followed by Nebraska (76%), Mississippi (76%), Kentucky (76%), and Missouri (75%). 
    • Respondents in Alaska are most likely to be exercising less since COVID-19 (46%), followed by Hawaii (40%), California (37%), New York (36%), and Nevada (36%).
  • Eating habits: Among national respondents, 75% indicate their eating habits have stayed the same or are healthier, while 25% are eating less healthy during COVID-19. When examining eating trends by state: 
    • Respondents in Vermont are most likely to be eating as healthy or healthier since COVID-19 (82%), followed by Nebraska (78%), Missouri (78%), Colorado (78%), and South Dakota (78%). 
    • Respondents in Massachusetts are most likely to be eating less healthy since COVID-19 (31%), followed by Delaware (30%), Idaho (30%), New Hampshire (29%), and Washington, D.C. (29%).  
  • Sleep: Among national respondents, 77% indicate they are sleeping the same amount or more, while 23% are sleeping less during COVID-19. When examining sleep trends by state: 
    • Respondents in Tennessee are most likely to be sleeping the same amount or more since COVID-19 (80.4%), followed by North Dakota (80%), Kansas (79.91%), Minnesota (79.89%), and Montana (79.83%) 
    • Respondents in New Mexico are most likely to be sleeping less since COVID-19 (30%), followed by Vermont(29%), New York (29%), Massachusetts (28%), and New Hampshire (28%).
  • Alcohol consumption: Among national respondents who consume alcohol, 78% indicate their drinking has stayed the same or lessened, while 22% are drinking more during COVID-19. When examining alcohol consumption by state: 
    • Respondents in South Dakota are most likely to be drinking the same amount or less since COVID-19 (88%), followed by North Dakota (85%), Iowa (85%), Mississippi (85%), and Montana (84%). 
    • Respondents in Georgia are most likely to be drinking more alcohol since COVID-19 (31%), followed by Washington, D.C. (27%), Massachusetts (26%), New York (26%), and Maryland (25%).  

Dr. Galea added, “While it may feel like we, as individual Americans, have little control over what happens in our lives right now, it is our personal choices that can be the difference-maker for our communities and our country – especially during this pandemic. While it’s far too early to predict the ‘end’ of COVID-19, one thing that will be critical to our resiliency and recovery throughout this global health crisis is within our own control – making the healthiest, safest choices we can each day for ourselves, and supporting our friends and family in doing the same for themselves.”

Flatten the Curve is designed to assess and promote better understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on both individuals and populations, including risk tied to COVID-19 transmission, adherence to policies and mandates, and changes in well-being across financial and physical resilience, social and community context, and everyday purpose. By examining all aspects of personal well-being – from exposure and anxiety to retirement planning – Sharecare aims to empower people to take an active role in both preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus and caring for their own well-being as they cope with the impact of the pandemic.

Colyer added, “We are thrilled to have such an overwhelming initial response to our Flatten the Curve survey and look forward to our next step in this process – which will be leveraging this data, collected at further scale and alongside the Community Well-Being Index, to fully contextualize the impact COVID-19 has had on our communities and nation at large. While our initial analysis of survey responses demonstrates challenges tied to well-being – in particular, as it relates to mental and financial elements – our goal is to ensure these results can be extrapolated across all demographics and spatial scales, enabling hyper-targeted interventions that expedite our collective recovery from this unprecedented pandemic.” 

To access more information about Flatten the Curve, including a dashboard of select survey results and methodology, visit sharecare.com/surveyresults. To contribute your voice to the effort, take the survey now at sharecare.com/survey

Schatz Calls for More Funding for Nonprofits in Next COVID-19 Relief Bill

Today, U.S. Senator Brian Schatz led a group of 27 senators to urge Senate leadership to include additional emergency funding for nonprofit organizations in the next COVID-19 relief bill. Nonprofits are an essential part of the frontline coronavirus pandemic response, providing important social services such as nutrition assistance, shelter for those experiencing homelessness, child care and education programs, and care for victims of domestic and sexual violence. 

“Nonprofits are fast, they are nimble, and they are on the frontlines. And as we ask them to do more, they are facing revenue shortfalls. These institutions are absolutely pivotal to our survival and our recovery,” said Sen. Schatz.

While demand for nonprofit services is increasing, these organizations are facing significant economic hardship. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided $350 billion in partially forgivable loans to small businesses and nonprofits, but this funding ran out within weeks. The $310 billion in new funding for this loan program passed by Congress last week is also expected to quickly run dry. Rather than requiring nonprofits to compete for limited resources with small businesses, the senators are calling for a significant increase in funding specifically for nonprofits.

The letter was also endorsed by 53 organizations, including the National Council of Nonprofits, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Meals on Wheels, YWCA USA, YMCA of the USA, and National Health Council. For a full list, click here.

The full text of the letter is available here and below:

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Chairman Shelby, and Vice Chairman Leahy:

As you work on the next legislative package to address the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we strongly encourage you to ensure that nonprofits are protected by including additional emergency funding.  Nonprofits provide essential social services for many Americans, including food, shelter, and medical services.  During this public health crisis, communities nationwide are relying on nonprofit services to survive—more and more each day.  At the same time as this increased demand, nonprofits are facing significant economic hardship.

Providing the nonprofit sector increased emergency funding for targeted state formula grants and programs will ensure that national and local organizations can maintain a continuity of services.  These funds must be distributed quickly through multiple existing funding streams, including emergency grants to nonprofits operating under existing federal grants, as well as through sub-grantees for state or local governments, or other pass-through entities.

For example:

  • An additional $55 million for the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act programs and $100 million for the Sexual Assault Services Program, which will help service providers to prevent and respond to sexual assault and family and domestic violence, including shelter and supportive services for those who need it;
  • An additional $50 billion for the Child Care and Development Block Grant will assist child care providers, as well as child care resource and referral agencies, as they provide emergency child care for first responders and essential workers, ensuring that these providers are able to remain open and that the child care system remains functioning for families to get back to work and school as we recover from this crisis;
  • An additional $500 million for the 21st Century Community Learning Center program will allow afterschool and summer learning programs to provide services to keep children on track academically through this school year and the summer, and even into the next school year;
  • Additional funding for the Title V Maternal and Child Health Block Grant and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program as well as other public health programs;
  • Additional funding for the Older Americans Act and Administration for Community Living programs that provide in-home assistance, legal services, language assistance, nutrition services, and other vital services and supports older adults and people with disabilities need to stay healthy at home and to prevent negative impacts of prolonged social isolation;
  • An additional $100 million to expand the Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration programs for national out-of-school time organizations to help support essential-skills development, career exposure, employability & certification and work-based learning; and
  • An additional $4.1 billion for the Social Services Block Grant, with a 5 percent set-aside for tribes, to support critical social services for vulnerable populations, including those at risk of family violence and abuse, children and youth in foster care, older adults struggling with hunger, and other supports.

These are a few of the existing funding streams that the next coronavirus package should support with an increase in appropriations to meet an immediate need.  The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was a positive first step to aid the nonprofit sector.  The nonprofit community will continue to play an essential role in coronavirus response, and we need them to scale up and meet an increase in demand.  A rapid infusion of funds to nonprofit organizations that are partnering with state and local governments will help frontline responders and vulnerable families.

As we draft legislation both to mitigate and recover from this pandemic, we must give nonprofits the support they need to lead their communities out of this crisis.  Thank you for your consideration of this request.

America Strong: Blue Angels, Thunderbirds to Conduct Multi-City Flyovers

In a show of national solidarity, the Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, the Blue Angels, and the Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, the Thunderbirds, will conduct a series of multi-city flyovers over the next two weeks.

America Strong is a collaborative salute from the Navy and Air Force to recognize healthcare workers, first responders, and other essential personnel while standing in solidarity with all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re excited to fly over cities across America as our way of saying thanks to the healthcare workers, first responders, and all the people who selflessly run into the breach working to keep America strong,” said Gen. Dave Goldfein, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations.  “This is also our way of showing that we are all in this together and that America’s spirit will prevail.” 

The two demonstration teams will fly over areas of the country hardest hit by COVID-19, starting next week as both joint and individual team flights occurring every one-to-two days until mid-May.

The Air Force and Navy have partnered with local governments and media outlets to help ensure spectators follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention social distancing guidelines.  Both teams are also implementing various measures to maintain personnel and community safety.  This includes air-to-air refueling during transit and no scheduled stops en route to reduce potential exposure to the virus.

The Blue Angels, based at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida, and Thunderbirds, based at Nellis Air Force Base, Las Vegas, typically fly at more than 30 air shows each year to demonstrate American military aviation. This year, both teams have been forced to cancel many performances in response to Department of Defense direction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak.

While America Strong will showcase Department of Defense support to healthcare workers, first responders, military, essential employees, and aims to unite all Americans in the fight against COVID-19, it also fulfills critical training requirements for both teams. Pilots must execute a minimum number of flight hours to maintain proficiency. These flyovers will incur no additional cost to taxpayers.

In order to reach the maximum number of Americans, some portions of America Strong will feature only the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds, while others will include both teams flying in their signature Delta formations simultaneously.

More information to be provided soon on dates and locations.

America Strong schedule:  Both teams will work with local media to provide exact times and locations.

For more information on the Blue Angels, visit this site.

For more information on the Thunderbirds, visit this site.

Rep. Gabbard Hosting Telephone Town Hall to Provide Update on Crisis

On Wednesday, April 22 at 4 p.m. HT, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard will host her next COVID-19 tele-town hall update from Washington, DC where she is returning for votes. In addition to covering the latest developments, including how Congressional emergency funds are supporting Hawai‘i, she will be joined by Shawna Lamothe and David A. Tucker II from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to give an update on the stimulus checks now making their way to individuals, as well as Sharlette Poe from the U.S. Census Bureau. Rep. Gabbard and her guests will field questions from callers. This will be the sixth of a weekly coronavirus-related live telephone town hall series Rep. Gabbard has hosted.

You can sign up on Rep. Gabbard’s website to receive a phone call to join the event.

Or, you can listen online at gabbard.house.gov/live.

Background: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has hosted five tele-town hall events, on March 18March 25April 1April 8, and April 15 to update Hawai‘i residents with news about what is being done to confront the pandemic and assist those who are being affected by it. She was joined on these calls by state and federal public officials as well as military commanders and community leaders to answer questions from across the state.

She created a COVID-19 resource webpage on her website as well as sends out regular e-newsletter updates to keep connected with constituents as developments happen.

Protecting and Providing for Americans During the Crisis

In early March, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard introduced H.Res.897, a resolution that would provide an emergency non-taxable Universal Basic Payment of $1,000 per month to all adult Americans until COVID-19 no longer presents a public health emergency. She was the earliest Member of Congress to introduce legislation for a Universal Basic Income-like payment as a temporary economic stimulus package to directly and immediately help Americans as they weather this crisis.

In March and early April, she cosponsored H.Res.908, a resolution which draws attention to the increased anti-Asian bigotry being witnessed during the coronavirus crisis and calls on the Federal government to work with state and local law enforcement to confront and prosecute hate crimes related to this, as well as reached out to U.S. Departments/Agencies, Congressional Leaders, and mortgage lenders to urge them to take measures that respect the hardships faced by individuals and families during this pandemic including a halt to all foreclosure and eviction proceedings and urging support for SNAP and WIC. She continues to call for direct support for those that are most in need in the relief bills before Congress, including farmers, ranchersmilitary familiesrural communitiesthose living paycheck to paycheck, and the communities that rely on the tourism industry for their livelihoods.

Rep. Gabbard has continued to work to make sure that much-needed medical supplies, testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) are readily available and recently sent a letter requesting that the Trump Administration prioritize working with our trading partners to ensure medical providers can obtain needed equipment quickly. She also sent a letter to the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services calling for the Departments to ensure access to PPE for essential childcare providers.

In March, working with Hawai‘i’s Congressional Delegation, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard sent two letters calling on President Trump to support Hawai‘i’s request for medical equipment, supplies and resources for the state.

Securing Emergency Funding

To date, Congress has passed 3 emergency funding bills:

  • H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2020 (on March 4)
  • H.R.6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (on March 14)
  • H.R.748, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (on March 27)

The Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act provided urgently needed, immediate funds to help with the initial impact of the virus on America. She voted to pass this bill which included funds for 14 community health centers in Hawai‘i which received more than $750,000 combined in support.

Next, she voted to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide free testing for COVID-19, two weeks of paid sick leave, up to three months paid family and medical leave, unemployment insurance for furloughed workers, food security for those who rely on food stamps, student meals, senior nutrition plans, and food banks, and increase federal Medicaid funds for local, state, tribal and territorial governments and health systems.

The CARES Act includes direct cash payments to Americans, assistance for those who are out of work due to the outbreak, funding for small businesses, hospitals, and health care workers, and state and local governments. The bill’s funding for state and local governments includes at least $1.2 billion for Hawai‘i. Though the bill included Rep. Gabbard’s idea for a direct benefit payment to support Americans reeling from the pandemic’s impact, it fell short of the full scope suggested in her legislation, H.Res.897, and she urged Congress to do more.

In the weeks following the passage of the CARES Act, Hawai‘i received over $142 million in emergency funds to help support healthcare providers. This included more than $10 million in additional funds to the 14 community health centers which received funds after the first emergency bill as well as $132 million to other healthcare providers across the State to help cover the costs they are incurring due to the crisis. However, this $132 million came with the stipulation that these healthcare providers may not engage in “surprise billing” of patients they have treated for COVID-19.

Also, Hawai‘i received over $107 million in funds through the CARES Act to support public transportation systems, community public health infrastructure, and housing for vulnerable communities by way of Federal Transit Authority grants, Community Block Development Grants (CDBGs), and the Housing Opportunity for People with AIDS program.

By mid-April, the CARES Act continued to yield funds for Hawai‘i, including an estimated $88 million for Educational purposes and over $133 million for its airports. The Educational funds will help support K-12 schools as well as colleges and universities. This includes a separate fund of $154 million for the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Furthermore, FEMA announced another round of disaster relief funds, $100 million available to all 50 States and U.S. Territories which can apply for funding by April 28.

Calls for Preventative Measures

In early April, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for the resignation of Hawai‘i Department of Health officials Bruce Anderson and Dr. Sarah Park because of their repeated failures that put the health, lives and well-being of the people of Hawai‘i at risk. She added that should they refuse to step down, Governor Ige should fire them.

On March 21, Rep. Gabbard called for an immediate implementation of a 14-day self-quarantine for all passengers arriving in Hawaiʻi, both visitors and returning residents. The state later announced that a self-quarantine requirement would be implemented on March 26, but Rep. Tulsi Gabbard continued to advocate for an immediate implementation. She also sent a letter calling on the President to issue a minimum two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order — a proven, effective solution to slowing the spread of the virus.

As the virus was first spreading in different parts of the world, Rep. Gabbard called on the Trump Administration to suspend flights from South Korea and Japan given the prevalence of COVID-19 infections in these countries, until they could guarantee all passengers would be tested prior to boarding flights to the United States.

Rep. Gabbard also wrote to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for clear guidelines for state and local governments to receive federal reimbursement for the costs they are incurring as part of their response to this public health crisis.

Sen. Kahele Files Official Papers for Congressional District 2 Seat

Hawaii Sen. Kaiali‘i Kahele today officially filed his nomination papers as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District of Hawai‘i.

Wearing a face mask and gloves, Senator Kai Kahele signs official nomination papers as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District of Hawai‘i at the Hawai‘i State Office of Elections in Pearl City.

Kahele received endorsements from Hawai‘i’s senior U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, Hawai‘i State Senate President Ronald Kouchi, Hawai‘i State Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, former ​Lieutenant Governor, former Hawai‘i State Senate President Shan Tsutsui and U.S. Congressman Ed Case.

U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz had this to say, “I am proud to endorse Kai for Congressional District 2. Kai’s service to Hawai‘i as a state senator and to our country as a lieutenant colonel in the Hawai‘i Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force, has prepared him well for leadership in Congress. I know he will be an effective member of our congressional team, and I am committed to working with him to bring his district the resources they need to respond to the current crisis, revitalize the economy, and address ongoing issues like climate change.”

State Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele today officially filed his nomination papers as a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives 2nd Congressional District of Hawai‘i.

Sen. Kouchi added, “Kai is a leader who steps up to the plate. He did that when he finished the term of his father, State Senator Gil Kahele, after his unexpected death in 2016. He has continually risen to the challenge, first as the Senate Majority Whip and now as Chair of the Water and Land Committee, and the Senate Majority Floor Leader. You can always trust Kai to step up. I am confident he will represent Hawaiʻi well in Washington D.C.”

Sen. Kidani said, “Senator Kahele is passionate about Hawai‘i’s keiki and public education. As a product of our public school system, from kindergarten to community college and as a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, I am confident he will advocate for students and faculty at all levels to ensure they are well equipped and have the best opportunities for a quality 21st century education and professional development.”

Former Lt. Gov. Tsutsui added, “Kai Kahele understands the Neighbor Island perspective and will work hard to address the challenges of Hawaiiʻs working families and small businesses in Congressional District 2. Kai’s candidacy provides an opportunity for the Neighbor Islands to have a voice in Congress and a seat at the table – something we’ve not had since Maui native Patsy Mink served with distinction in the U.S. House.”

Kahele received key endorsements from Hawai‘i’s senior U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, Senior Hawai‘i State Senate President Ronald Kouchi, Hawai‘i State Senate Vice President Michelle Kidani, and former Lieutenant Governor and former Hawai‘i State Senate President Shan Tsutsui.

U.S. Congressman Ed Case said “I am endorsing Sen. Kai Kahele for election to represent Hawai‘i’s Second Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. I’ve known and worked with Sen. Kahele in various ways for close to 20 years and believe he has what it takes to represent Hawai‘i in the U.S. House. Having proudly represented the Second Congressional District from 2002 to 2007, I believe he understands and is committed to the special and unique needs of the Second.

Most important for me if I am privileged to be re-elected to the House, I believe he will be my full partner in delivering for Hawai’i in Congress and I would look forward to working with him. Although I’m normally reluctant to endorse between viable candidates in contested Democratic primaries, I believe it is very late for any other candidate to contest. It will be far better for Hawai’i on Capitol Hill for me to endorse Sen. Kahele now to help build relationships that will give both him and Hawai’i a solid head start should he be elected to the next Congress.”

Other prominent leaders who have also endorsed Kahele include former Hawaiʻi Governors John Waiheʻe, Ben Cayetano and Neil Abercrombie, who serve as Honorary Co-Chairs of the Kahele for Congress Campaign Committee.

First Quarter 2020 Fundraising Results

Donations raised in the first quarter of 2020 totalled $124,113 – surpassing the campaign’s goal for the quarter of $100,000 and despite the temporary suspension of fundraising events as of March 13, 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns. The campaign has raised $842,681 to date. Campaign cash on hand at the end of the first quarter totaled $497,811. A total of 552 individuals donated to the campaign in quarter one of 2020.

Kahele announced his candidacy on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 22, 2019 at the historic Mo‘oheau Bandstand in downtown Hilo. The 2n​ d​ Congressional District encompasses Hawaiʻi Island, Maui, Kahoʻolawe, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kaua’i, Niʻihau and the rural parts of Oʻahu, including Waimānalo, Kailua, Kāneʻohe, the North Shore, and the Leeward coast.

Bill to Create Commission of Experts to Determine How & When Country Can Safely Reopen

Sen. Brian Schatz today led a group of senators in announcing new legislation they plan to introduce to create the America Forward Commission, a panel of independent experts tasked with developing a broad strategy of how and when to safely reopen the country. Schatz was joined by U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.).

“Reopening communities, schools, and businesses following a pandemic is a serious public health matter, and we should treat it that way. Independent experts should be the ones helping us determine how we can reopen the country when it is safe to do so,” said Senator Schatz.

“Protecting public health is a core function of government, and it’s a responsibility all elected officials must take seriously. The eventual decision to ease social distancing orders and return to the pre-coronavirus ‘normal’ must be driven by science, not politics,” said Senator Harris. “I’m proud to help introduce this bill to form the America Forward Commission because people in California and across the country deserve the peace of mind that their leaders are listening to the experts and following the facts.”

“This is one of the most unsettling times in our nation’s history, and we are all anxious to put these days behind us and move forward. To begin reopening our economy, we must ensure we are protecting American lives and not further jeopardizing our economic future,” said Senator Bennet. “Like generations before us who faced incredible challenges of their own, we have a chance to assert our best traditions as Americans. And if we do that – which I know we can – I’m confident we can get our country back on its feet.”

“We’re in the middle of a public health crisis that’s caused an economic crisis—not the other way around. And although Trump would rather open the economy even if it will cost more American lives, we must first deal with the public health crisis by deploying widespread testing and mitigating community spread. At the same time, we need to develop plans for the safest, and most effective, way to restore our economy once we’ve successfully flattened the COVID-19 curve,” said Senator Murphy. “We should mirror what governors—including Governor Lamont in Connecticut and others in the northeast—are doing at the regional level, by establishing an official national advisory body made up of nonpartisan experts to provide guidance to help us navigate these daunting times. We can’t recover from this crisis if we rely on the same politically-minded advisors around Trump that got us here in the first place, and that’s what this legislation seeks to fix.”

The legislation will require the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to appoint 10-15 members, with at least one expert in the following fields: public health, economics, transportation, medicine, national security, and state and local government.

The American Forward Commission’s duties include:

  • Examining and developing standards, tools and techniques necessary to ensure that federal, state, and local officials can diagnose, isolate, and mitigate the coronavirus, including seasonal reoccurrences, and address other public health and economic impacts;
  • Evaluating information sharing policies and practices for essential information between federal, state, and local stakeholders, as well as business and non-profit entities; 
  • Determining necessary medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and other materials; and
  • Evaluating proposals to strengthen the resilience of economic sectors and protect American workers most vulnerable to disruption from viral pandemics.

The Commission will make real-time recommendations to policymakers. The White House Coronavirus Task Force will be required to respond in writing to the Commission’s recommendations within one week of receipt, and to publicly post its responses.

Statement on 2020 Census Operational Adjustments Due to COVID-19

The 2020 Census is underway and more households across America are responding every day. Over 70 million households have responded to date, representing over 48% of all households in America. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the U.S. Census Bureau is adjusting 2020 Census operations in order to:

  • Protect the health and safety of the American public and Census Bureau employees.
  • Implement guidance from federal, state and local authorities.
  • Ensure a complete and accurate count of all communities.

The Census Bureau temporarily suspended 2020 Census field data collection activities in March. Steps are already being taken to reactivate field offices beginning June 1, 2020, in preparation for the resumption of field data collection operations as quickly as possible following June 1. 

In-person activities, including all interaction with the public, enumeration, office work and processing activities, will incorporate the most current guidance to promote the health and safety of staff and the public. This will include recommended personal protective equipment (PPE) and social distancing practices.

Once 2020 Census data collection is complete, the Census Bureau begins a lengthy, thorough and scientifically rigorous process to produce the apportionment counts, redistricting information and other statistical data products that help guide hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private sector spending per year.

In order to ensure the completeness and accuracy of the 2020 Census, the Census Bureau is seeking statutory relief from Congress of 120 additional calendar days to deliver final apportionment counts.

Under this plan, the Census Bureau would extend the window for field data collection and self-response to October 31, 2020, which will allow for apportionment counts to be delivered to the President by April 30, 2021, and redistricting data to be delivered to the states no later than July 31, 2021.

CDC Extends No Sail Order for All Cruise Ships

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the extension of a No Sail Order for all cruise ships.

“We are working with the cruise line industry to address the health and safety of crew at sea as well as communities surrounding U.S. cruise ship points of entry,” said CDC Director Robert Redfield.  “The measures we are taking today to stop the spread of COVID-19 are necessary to protect Americans, and we will continue to provide critical public health guidance to the industry to limit the impacts of COVID-19 on its workforce throughout the remainder of this pandemic.”

The No Sail Order reinforces the strong action by President Donald J. Trump and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to combat the spread of COVID-19 in the United States. President Trump acted early and decisively to implement travel restrictions on foreign nationals who had recently been to China and Europe and by issuing the 30 Days to Slow the Spread guidelines. These containment and mitigation strategies have been a critical component of the United States COVID-19 response, but despite these efforts, cruise ship travel markedly increases the risk and impact of the COVID-19 outbreak within the United States.

In recent weeks, at least 10 cruise ships reported crew or passengers that tested positive or experienced respiratory symptoms or influenza-like illness. Currently, there are approximately 100 cruise ships remaining at sea off the East Coast, West Coast, and Gulf Coast, with nearly 80,000 crew onboard. Additionally, CDC is aware of 20 cruise ships at port or anchorage in the United States with known or suspected COVID-19 infection among the crew who remain onboard.

There are several public health concerns when crew members become ill while onboard the cruise ships.  As we have seen with the passenger illness response on cruise ships, safely evacuating, triaging, and repatriating cruise ship crew has involved complex logistics, incurs financial costs at all levels of government, and diverts resources away from larger efforts to suppress or mitigate COVID-19. The addition of further COVID-19 cases from cruise ships also places healthcare workers at substantial increased risk.

Some of these ships off the coast of the United States have crew that are not critical to maintain the seaworthiness or basic safe operation of the cruise ships, such as the vessel’s hotel and hospitality staff. The U.S. Government remains committed to humanitarian medevac for individuals in dire need of life-saving support.

The CDC, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Department of Homeland Security have been working with the industry to determine the most appropriate public health strategy to limit the impact of COVID-19 at cruise ship ports of entry in the United States.  Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) voluntarily suspended cruise ship operations in March in conjunction with the earlier No Sail Order issued March 14.  The industry has since been working to build an illness response framework to combat COVID-19 on ships with international crew members who remain on board and at sea.

This order ceases operations of cruise ships in waters in which the United States may exert jurisdiction and requires that they develop a comprehensive, detailed operational plan approved by CDC and the USCG to address the COVID-19 pandemic through maritime focused solutions, including a fully implementable response plan with limited reliance on state, local, and federal government support.  These plans would help prevent, mitigate, and respond to the spread of COVID-19, by:

  • monitoring of passengers and crew medical screenings;
  • training crew on COVID-19 prevention;
  • managing and responding to an outbreak on board; and
  • submitting a plan to USCG and CDC for review

This Order shall continue in operation until the earliest of three situations. First, the expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency.  Second, the CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations.  Or third, 100 days from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

Additional information in the order includes:

  • Cruise ship operators are not allowed to disembark travelers (passengers or crew) at ports or stations, except as directed by the USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, and as appropriate, as coordinated with federal, state, and local authorities.
  • Cruise ship operators should not embark or re-embark any crew member, except as approved by the USCG, in consultation with HHS/CDC personnel, until further notice.
  • While in port, cruise ship operators shall observe health precautions directed by HHS/CDC personnel.
  • The cruise ship operator should comply with all HHS/CDC, USCG, and other federal agency instructions to follow CDC recommendations and guidance for any public health actions relating to passengers, crew, ship, or any article or thing onboard the ship, as needed, including by making ship’s manifests and logs available and collecting any specimens for COVID-19 testing.

For more information about COVID-19 and cruise ships, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/cruise-ship/what-cdc-is-doing.html and to view the no sail order go to https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html.

President Trump Approves Hawaii Disaster Declaration

Today, President Donald J. Trump declared that a major disaster exists in the State of Hawaii and ordered Federal assistance to supplement State and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic beginning on January 20, 2020, and continuing.

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

The President’s action makes Federal funding available to State and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations for emergency protective measures, including direct Federal assistance, for all areas in the State of Hawaii impacted by COVID-19.

Pete Gaynor, Administrator, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Department of Homeland Security, named Robert J. Fenton as the Federal Coordinating Officer for Federal recovery operations in the affected areas.

Additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the State and warranted by the results of further assessments.

2020 Census Field Operations Suspended Until April 15

Based on continuing assessments of guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, the U.S. Census Bureau is suspending 2020 Census field operations for two additional weeks to April 15, 2020.



The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone who will go through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.

The Census Bureau continues to evaluate all 2020 Census field operations, and will communicate any further updates as soon as possible.

The 2020 Census is open for self-response online at 2020Census.gov, over the phone by calling the number provided in your invitation, and by paper through the mail.

COVID-19 Assistance For Homeowners & Renters

Mortgage payment forbearance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages.  Homeowners with mortgages backed by the FHA, USDA, VA, HUD Section 184a, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for loan forbearance for up to one year without fees, penalties or additional interest. 

Homeowners who are facing a financial hardship, either directly or indirectly, from the coronavirus may receive the forbearance by submitting a request to their servicer stating they are experiencing a hardship related to the virus.  The forbearance will be granted for 180 days and may be extended for up to another 180 days at the borrower’s request.

Homeowners in need of the forbearance should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible or contact a HUD approved housing counselor.  Contact information for a homeowner’s mortgage servicer can be found in monthly mortgage statements or coupon book.  The nearest housing counselor can be found at www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Foreclosure relief 

Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages, or mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are facing foreclosure will also have relief from foreclosure or being forced to relocate as we address the COVID-19 pandemic.  The foreclosure eviction moratorium is in effect until May 17, 2020. 

Renters in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs

Eviction Moratorium for Renters

Until July 26, 2020, property owners are prohibited from filing for eviction against or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees to a tenant in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs.  Property owners must also issue a notice to tenants to vacate 30 days before an eviction and the notice to vacate cannot be issued during this 120-day period.

This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency (including FHA and USDA) or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, owners of multifamily buildings with federal loans in forbearance may not evict tenants for unpaid rent or charge late fees or penalties until the loan exits forbearance. 

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or a HUD approved housing counselor.  You can find the nearest housing counselor here or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Trump Administration Moves Tax Day to July 15

Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) released the following statement after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced that Tax Day would move from April 15 to July 15 for businesses and taxpayers: 

Sen. Mazie Hirono, Adjutant General Major Hara and Mayoral Candidate Ikaika Marzo

“As Americans continue to confront the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the last thing they need to worry about is the looming tax deadline,” Sen. Hirono said. “This delay provides much needed flexibility for taxpayers so that we can all focus on the essential task of confronting this public health emergency.”

Sen. Hirono and 19 of her Senate colleagues called for the Internal Revenue Service to extend the filing deadline to provide taxpayers additional flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Global Level 4 Health Advisory: DO NOT TRAVEL

This is a U.S. Department of State Advisory

The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.  U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. 

Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.  Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification.  These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

2020 Census Field Operations Suspended

Less than one week ago, the 2020 Census fully kicked off, and invitations continue to arrive in mailboxes across the nation.  As of this morning, more than eleven million households have responded. America is stepping up to shape our future and ensure families and communities are counted.

Beginning today, in support of guidance on what we can all do to help slow the spread of coronavirus, 2020 Census field operations will be suspended for two weeks until April 1, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone going through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions.

During this pause in field operations, the Census Bureau will continue to evaluate all 2020 Census operations. Should any additional adjustments need to be made, the Census Bureau will communicate these changes broadly and promptly. 

In late May, census takers around the nation will begin visiting households that have not yet responded to the 2020 Census to help complete the count. As we continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, we will adjust census taker and survey operations as necessary in order to follow the guidance of federal, state and local health authorities.

The public is strongly encouraged to respond to the 2020 Census online using a desktop computer, laptop, smartphone, or tablet, and can also respond by phone or mail. Everyone should respond to the 2020 Census as soon as they receive their invitation — and when they’re finished, they can make sure their friends, families and social networks know about the importance of responding.  

It has never been easier to respond to the census, and the 2020 Census will count everyone accurately. We recognize that many people plan to access the 2020 Census through other response modes, such as phone or paper, which is why the 2020 Census has such a nimble design. 

On March 15, 2020, the Census Bureau announced several adaptations to our group quarters operations to accommodate recent scheduling changes on college campuses as leadership takes action to keep students and faculty safe.

For all other Census Bureau household and economic surveys separate from the 2020 Decennial Census, Bureau personnel will begin using phone calls instead of in-person visits. In the limited number of instances where an in-person visit is necessary, we are working closely with public health authorities to ensure each visit is accomplished safely.

Once again, we encourage everyone to respond online today at 2020Census.gov.  With the flexibility and support of the American people, we will achieve a complete and accurate count which helps guide funding decisions for things like hospitals, roads and emergency services. Respondents can also respond by calling the number provided in their invitation or by mail once they have received a paper form.  

~ U.S. Census Bureau Director Steven Dillingham

Rep. Gabbard, Lt. Gov. Green to Host Telephone Town Hall On Coronavirus

Honolulu, HI—Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) and Lt. Gov. Josh Green will be hosting a live telephone town hall tomorrow to talk about the local and national response to the coronavirus.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard and Lt. Gov. Josh Green will provide updates from their respective areas of responsibility, share their thoughts on the local and national response to the coronavirus pandemic, and take questions live from callers. Lt. Gov. Green has lead the state’s response to coronavirus since the early days of the outbreak.

“Connecting the people of Hawaiʻi to the information they need is one of the most important jobs of government. Lt. Gov. Green and I look forward to speaking directly with residents, hearing their questions, and sharing the latest information we have,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

To participate in this telephone town hall, call toll-free (888) 476-4187 at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, March 18.