Parks & Recreation Launches Emergency Meal Plan

Beginning this week, the County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation’s Elderly Activities Division (EAD) began a comprehensive meal delivery program for eligible seniors enrolled in Hawai‘i County’s Nutrition Program.  In compliance with Governor Ige’s Third Emergency Proclamation on COVID-19, which restricted gatherings and instituted social distancing requirements beginning March 25, 2020, EAD undertook a herculean effort to convert its two standard meals programs for seniors, Meals on Wheels and Congregate [Meals] Sites, into a meticulously organized meal delivery network that services all enrolled seniors at their respective places of residence.  

In this initial week of EAD’s emergency meal delivery program, 3,440 frozen prepared meals will be delivered to 688 seniors that opted into the program.  Each senior will receive 5 nutritious meals per week prepared by one of five different vendors depending on the recipient’s location.  EAD staff have charted 24 distinct routes spanning the entire island to efficiently distribute the meals.  All deliveries on 22 of these routes are performed by EAD employees, in marked County of Hawai‘i vehicles, on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays, depending on geographic location.  The remaining 2 routes (Wainaku to Pa‘auilo and Honoka‘a to Waimea) are executed by staff of Hawai‘i County Economic Opportunity Council (HCEOC) in their marked vehicles.

In addition to the delivery of meals, EAD staff members are reaching out by phone weekly to the seniors in its highest risk category to ensure they are doing okay and to inquire with them what their plans are over the next month and if there is any way that EAD can assist them further in this period of emergency.

During this time, EAD continues to service seniors through its Coordinated Services for the Elderly program that provides transportation for doctor’s appointments, pharmaceutical pickups, 2-week essentials shopping as well as emergency services (such as dialysis, cancer treatments, etc.).

The Department of Parks and Recreation thanks the Hawai‘i County Office of Aging for its continued support of this emergency meals programs as well as its meals vendors: Nani Mau, HCEOC, Café 100, Big Island Grill and L&L Drive Inn.

For questions about the program, call Roann S. Okamura, EAD Operations Director, at (808) 961-8708.

Service Restrictions at All Solid Waste Transfer Stations Effective Monday, April 13

Greenwaste collection is discontinued at Kealakehe, Keʻei, Pāhoa, Keaʻau, Volcano and Waimea Transfer Stations.

Scrap metal and white goods collection is discontinued at Hilo, Keaʻau, Pāhoa, Volcano, Waiʻōhinu, Pāhala, Keauhou, Kealakehe, Puakō, Waimea, Hāwī, Honokaʻa and Laupāhoehoe Transfer Stations.

Greenwaste Collection services will be discontinued at all transfer stations beginning Monday, April 13, 2020, and will remain closed until April 30, 2020, or further notice. Greenwaste collection is still offered at:  

Hilo: East Hawaiʻi Organics Facility at the South Hilo Sanitary Landfill; 
7:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. daily (7 days a week) 

Waikoloa: West Hawaiʻi Organics Facility at the West Hawaiʻi Sanitary Landfill (aka Puʻuanahulu); 7:00 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Mondays thru Saturday 

Scrap Metal and White Goods Collection services will be discontinued at all transfer stations beginning Monday, April 13, 2020, and will remain closed until April 30, 2020, or further notice.  Residents are encouraged to hold on to these materials until collection services resume. 

We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience and understanding as we tackle the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Please visit our website at www.hawaiizerowaste.org for future closure information and locations, or call our Solid Waste Division Office at 961-8270.

DOE Adds Schools to List of ‘Grab & Go’ Meal Locations

The Department of Education announced that 19 school locations have been added to the current list for pickup of “grab and go” meals for all public and charter school students.

Parents or caregivers who pick up a meal must be accompanied by a child, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture requirements.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 a.m.-8 a.m. and lunch 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m., Monday through Friday. For food safety, meals must be consumed by either 10 a.m. (breakfast) or 2 p.m. (lunch).

There will be no personal interaction between DOE employees and the community. All meals are placed in containers. Meals will be located outside of the cafeteria, preferably closest to a driveway or natural access point on the campus.

** This information below was revised April 6, 2020

NHCH Offering More COVID-19 Screenings

Drive-up screening for COVID-19 at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital (QNHCH) will change to a three-times-week schedule, effective Monday, April 6. Screening is offered 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the main hospital campus in Waimea.

Physician’s orders are not required but individuals must have symptoms and complete a screening. Patients are asked to bring photo ID and insurance information, and to stay in their vehicle; screening and testing takes only a few minutes and is done while the patient stays in the vehicle.

Leaving one’s home to seek medical care is an essential and allowable activity under the State’s Stay-at-Home order.

For more information, visit coronavirus.gov or hawaiicovid19.com or call the Queen’s COVID-19 Information Line at 691-2619.

Proposed Big Island Clean Energy Projects to be Discussed

ENGIE Hawai‘i will be hosting a televised town hall meeting on Nā Leo TV on April 30, 6 to 7 p.m. to discuss two proposed solar and energy storage projects in the Puakō and Waikoloa area. These proposed solar and energy storage projects will reduce the use of fossil fuel, bring stability to electricity prices, and protect Hawaiʻi Island’s environment for future generations.

Screen shot of website


ENGIE Hawai‘i is one of several companies who proposed clean energy projects to Hawaiian Electric as part of an effort to bring more clean, affordable energy to customers. Hawaiian Electric is expected to select projects this May to be built over the next two years.

This televised town hall meeting, which will have no studio audience, is being held in lieu of an in-person meeting in compliance with social distancing guidelines in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The interactive town hall will take questions from viewers via phone and email. 

Interested residents can tune in to ENGIE Hawaiʻi’s town hall meeting on April 30, 6 to 7 p.m. on Nā Leo TV, on cable or online at naleo.tv. The broadcast will also be archived on ENGIEHawaii.com.

More information about the proposed Puakō and Waikoloa projects, plus proposed battery storage projects on Maui and Oʻahu, can be found at ENGIEHawaii.com. Residents are also invited to sign up for the email list at ENGIEHawaii.com, send questions to info@ENGIEHawaii.com, or call (808) 315-5531.

Water Shutoffs & Late Payment Fees Suspended

Effective immediately, the Department of Water Supply (DWS), County of Hawaii is suspending service disconnections and waiving late payment fees through April 30, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Unfortunately, scammers may try to defraud DWS’ customers during this pandemic by threatening to shutoff service unless a payment is made. Again, DWS will not be disconnecting services during this period. If you receive one of these demands please hang-up and contact DWS’ Customer Service, at (808) 961-8060.  

In addition, in order to comply with the Governor’s “stay at home” order, DWS is extending the suspension of in-person payment collections and customer service inquiries through April 30, 2020. During this period, DWS will accept only telephone, online, auto-payment, mail, or payments left in a secured DWS payment dropbox. To pay a bill online, please visit www.hawaiidws.org, click on the “Pay Online” tab and follow the self-service portal. Customers wishing to pay by telephone should call toll-free 844-216-1994 anytime. There are no fees for these services. If there are any questions, please contact one of our Customer Service offices below.

              Customer Service Contacts:

              Hilo:                    (808) 961-8060

              Waimea:            (808) 887-3030

              Kona:                  (808) 322-0600

              Email:                  dws@hawaiidws.org

DWS is committed to provide essential, safe, and reliable water service to our customers, businesses, and communities. During this unprecedented and challenging time, DWS has modified employee work schedules and increased hygiene practices to keep its workers safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please stay healthy and do your part to prevent the spread of this virus!

Municipal Golf Course in Hilo Closed Until Further Notice

The County of Hawai‘i Department of Parks and Recreation announced on Tuesday that amid the COVID-19 pandemic the Hilo Municipal Golf Course will be closed until further notice, effective on April 1.

Golf Course staff will continue to work throughout this closure period maintaining and improving the golf course for when it reopens for play.

“The purpose for this closure is manifold, but primarily addresses public and personnel safety issues that have surfaced while we accommodated the continued play of golf over the first six days of Governor Ige’s Stay-At-Home order,” said Roxcie Waltjen, Director of Parks and Recreation.

“We will continually assess the appropriate date for reopening of the facility along with any modified policies that must be implemented in order to do so safely and responsibly for all those impacted” Waltjen said.

Additionally, the golf pro shop and driving range at the course will be closed until further notice effective April 1. The restaurant at the course was closed indefinitely on March 25.

For further information, contact the Hilo Municipal Golf Course starters office at (808) 959-7711.

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.

Information on Merrie Monarch Refunds

With the 2020 Merrie Monarch being cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic happening now, refunds for the tickets are now being offered to people who had purchased the tickets.


Hālau Kekuaokalā‘au‘ala‘iliahi Hula: He Inoa Kēia No Kapiʻolani Nā Kumu Hula: Haunani & ʻIliahi Paredes Moku: Wailuku, Maui. PC: Merrie Monarch

The following was posted on the Merrie Monarch website:

“We extend our aloha to all of you and your ʻohana during these unprecedecnted times. Mahalo for your patience and understanding, allowing us time to assess the various decisions we are faced with in lieu of our having cancelled the 2020 Merrie Monarch Festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One of these critical decsions included thinking through a fair process for refunding the cost of tickets purchased for the three nights of competition.

To those of you who already contacted our office to let us know that you would like to donate your ticket money to the Festival, mahalo for this generous offer. We have decided to pass on this gesture of aloha and donate these monies to the twenty-two hālau that were invited to participate this year. They will undoubtedly appreciate the kōkua to offset the expenses that were incurred in preparing for this year’s competition. We will be doing the same for anyone esle who would like to kākoʻo the hālau in this manner.

We are intimately aware however that these are financially challenging times and for those of you who would prefer a refund, we completely understand.

To help us process these refunds and donations, please kōkua mai by doing the following:

    1. Whether you are requesting a refund or donating, please return the original tickets issued to you to the address listed below. 
      • NOTE: We will only honor refunds for original tickets. No copies or pictures will be accepted.
    2. If you would like a refund, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope with your tickets.
      • NOTE: To ensure that we have time to process all refunds before we get too far into preparations for the 2021 festival (which we are optimistically planning on), we ask that you submit your refund request no later than June 30, 2020.

If you have questions, please call our office at 808-935-9168 and leave a message. While we have closed our office for the time being, we are checking messages weekly and one of our volunteers will contact you as soon as we are able.

Again, mahalo nui loa for your understanding and your continued love of hula and Hawaiian culture. We wish you and your ‘ohana strength and health to persist through these challenging times.”

Me ke aloha,

Luana Kawelu, President

Merrie Monarch Festival

Mailing address:

Merrie Monarch Festival

865 Pi‘ilani Street

Hilo, Hawai‘i  96720

Partial Road Closure in HVNP

Hawaiian Electric will soon start a six-month project to upgrade transmission poles and equipment in the area of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (HVNP).

Work will be done in phases starting April 1, 2020. Crews will replace 189 utility poles and install new equipment along Hawaii Belt Road, or Highway 11, between mile markers 30 and 40. One lane will be closed from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

“During this challenging time, we know the community is counting on us to keep the lights on. Continuing to provide safe and reliable power is our priority,” said Kristen Okinaka, spokeswoman for Hawaiian Electric’s operations on Hawaii Island. “Our crews and contractors will practice social distancing on the job and there should be no interaction with the public. It’s part of the critical work that continues, especially in advance of hurricane season, including tree trimming, replacement of equipment, and system resilience work that is difficult to reschedule.”

Once the line construction is completed, the replaced poles will be removed via helicopter. Work is expected to be done by Sept. 30, 2020, weather permitting.

For questions or concerns, please call 969-6666

Hawaiian Electric to Estimate Energy Usage

Hawaiian Electric continues to adjust its operations to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus, including postponing less urgent repair and maintenance work, and closing walk-in customer payment centers at least through April.

None of the operational changes being made will interrupt electric service to customers.

To ensure electric service is not disrupted, Hawaiian Electric is postponing projects and work that would require customer outages, unless it is deemed critical for safety or reliability. Our crews and contractors will continue to perform essential work that involves little interaction with the public, including tree trimming (to reduce potential outages), replacement of equipment, and system resilience work that is difficult to reschedule.

Emergency work, including outage restoration and repairs to ensure public safety such as replacing damaged poles, remains a priority.

Although Hawaiian Electric employees are considered “essential workers,” the company is trying to reduce the numbers in the field to protect the health and safety of employees and the public. Here are some other measures being taken:

  • Until further notice, the company is reducing the number of meter readers sent out across its five-island service territory.

    Bills for residential and some small- to medium-size commercial customers will be estimated based on the previous month’s usage. Meter readers will continue to read meters for large commercial customers.

    Once meter reading resumes, the bills will “true up” and customers will be billed accordingly for the actual usage. Customers will pay for only the electricity used.
  • Service disconnections are suspended through May 17, an extension from April 17. If you receive a notice from Hawaiian Electric before May 17 that threatens to disconnect service, it’s a scam and should be ignored.

    Customers facing financial hardship are urged to contact Customer Service so payment options and schedules can be arranged to help keep payments manageable. While customers will still be responsible for paying their electric bills, payment schedules and other options can help ease the financial challenges for those most affected by the COVID-19 situation.

    The quickest way to start the process is to fill out and submit a Payment Arrangement Request Form at https://www.hawaiianelectric.com/customerserviceoptions.
  • Walk-in customer payment centers will remain closed at least through April 30 rather than reopen on March 30 as originally planned.

Hawaiian Electric encourages customers who are having difficulty paying their bills due to the coronavirus pandemic to contact customer service representatives.

To make payment arrangements or for more information, visit the online customer care center at www.hawaiianelectric.com or call:

Call for Proposals: 2020 Urban & Community Forestry Grants

Kaulunani Urban And Community Forestry Program opens call for their small Grants Program supporting up to $40,000 for urban and community forestry projects.

Explore online map of Hawaii’s Urban Trees: https://pg-cloud.com/hawaii/

Could funding from a community grant help your tree project get off the ground?

Whether you are planning a tree planting project, hosting a workshop or training, coordinating a restoration event, or creating outreach materials – there is support available! The DLNR’s Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program announces a call for grant applications that support urban and community forestry projects statewide.

The Kaulunani Grant Program has awarded hundreds of grants to nonprofit organizations, schools, community groups, parks, museums, and arboretums across the state of Hawai‘i for a diverse range of urban and community forestry projects. Over the years, Kaulunani grant recipients have impacted nearly every urban area in Hawai‘i. This state and federally funded grant program has enabled the planting of countless trees, raised awareness of the importance of trees in dozens of communities, and has involved thousands of Hawai‘i residents in caring for the ‘āina.

The Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program’s Grant Program offers several different levels of grants under which organizations and communities can apply:

● “Cool Your School” Grants: School grant requests between $500 and $3,000.

● ‘ILIMA Grants: Requests under $2,500.

● MĀMAKI Grants: Requests between $2,500 and $14,999.

● ‘ULU Grants: Grant Requests OVER $15,000, targeting specific special funding opportunities. ‘Ulu grants consider requests up to $300,000. The complete list of grant opportunities is available on the Kaulunani website. Requires pre-approval.

Applications are accepted on a quarterly basis with the following deadlines for 2020: May 1, August 1, and November 1. Applications received by May 1st will receive priority consideration for current year funds. The Kaulunani Advisory Council reviews proposals at the subsequent quarterly meeting following each deadline. Grants are made to projects that match or exceed the federal grant funds in cash and in-kind contributions. One grant request per applicant will be considered. Grants are awarded to projects that respond to a need identified in DLNR’s Forest Action Plan, Urban Forestry Chapter, which can be found on Kaulunani’s website: www.Kaulunani.org.

Upcoming informational webinar: Do you have an idea for a project? Join us during our upcoming webinar to learn how to enhance your proposal. We will teach you how to write a successful application and we will help fine tune your project to fit with the Kaulunani grant requirements. This informational session is a great opportunity to ask questions and get feedback for your ideas. Our staff are available to actively work with you through the application process.

Grant Information Webinar – Date: Friday, April 3rd, 12:00-1:15 pm

Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/416522240?pwd=eUIwME02TEJaZ0cwZDRubGoxTDdidz09

Meeting ID: 416 522 240 RSVP by April 3rd at 10 am to Jolie Dollar at jdollar@smarttreespacific.org to receive Zoom Meeting password.

For more information about the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program, please contact Heather McMillen, DOFAW Urban & Community Forester, at heather.l.mcmillen@hawaii.gov.

UH Program Connects Public, Local Farmers During Pandemic

Since farmers’ markets have been shut down for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak, local farmers are concerned about how they will be able to sell their produce, and locavores are wondering where they are going to buy their local produce and value-added products.

The University of Hawaiʻi’s successful farmer-training program, GoFarm Hawai‘i, has been building a list of some resources for farmers as well as Find Your Farmer, a list of farmers who are still offering access to food in non-traditional ways, such as through pick-up and drop-off. They have the information promoted on their Facebook and Instagram pages so that farmers can add their information.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has been addressing the issue of food security long before the unprecedented COVID-19 health crisis. 

GoFarm Hawaiʻi is a collaborative effort involving UH Mānoa’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human ResourcesWindward Community College and UH’s Agribusiness Incubator Program.

They are looking for farmers who have food to sell as well as building a resource for people to access food. GoFarm Hawai‘i is also requesting any recommendations of services that can aid farmers during the interim so they can be added to the list.

GoFarm Hawaiʻi has five program sites across four islands, making it one of the largest beginning-farmer training programs in the nation. Sites are located on Oʻahu (in Waimānalo and Waialua), Kauaʻi, Maui and Hawaiʻi Island. Started in 2012, the program has successfully trained aspiring farmers throughout the state.

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s Shelters Close

Hawaii Island Humane Society’s top priority is keeping people safe while continuing to provide the utmost care for shelter animals during this COVID-19 crisis. There is no evidence that companion animals have been infected or could spread the coronavirus (COVID-19) according to the World Health Organization.

COVID-19 Action Plan Update

Beginning on Wednesday, March 25, Hawaii Island Humane Society’s three shelters in Keaau, Waimea and Kona will close to the public and volunteers. Hawaii Island Humane Society (HIHS) shelter staff will continue to ensure that pets are fed and kennels are clean. 

HIHS will provide the following essential services during this time:          

• Intakes: If you find a lost or stray animal, please call one of the Hawaii Island Humane Society shelters to schedule an appointment to bring the pet in. While the shelters will remain open for intakes, please be prepared to wait as staff is reducing public interactions. 

• Animal Control: Animal control officers will continue to answer high priority and emergency calls. Those calls include injured or sick stray animals, cruelty and neglect complaints, bite complaints, and dangerous and aggressive dog complaints. Officers will respond to other calls as time and safety allow. HIHS’s capacity to respond to calls may be diminished during this time. 

• Lost Pets: Call to make an appointment at your nearest shelter. You will need to file a lost pet report and provide proof of ownership (photo, veterinary records). 

• Owner Surrendered Pets: Pet owners who are not facing an immediate crisis are encouraged to hold their pets for up to four weeks and surrender at a later day. Pet owners who need to immediately surrender pets can do so by appointment only. 

• Owner Requested Euthanasia: Owners requesting euthanasia services are encouraged to contact and schedule an appointment with the shelter in your area. 

• Adoptions and Fostering Programs: Adoptions and fostering are on hold at this time while we develop a plan to promote positive outcomes for our animals. Please check hihs.org or follow us on social media for updates.

All dog parks are closed.

Hawaii Island Humane Society will not be issuing spay and neuter coupons this month. Community spay and neuter programs including the Angel Day 2020 Spay & Neuter for Pit Bull Mixes at the Keaau Shelter slated for April 1 and 2 is also cancelled. All programs including microchipping, humane education classes, group visits, events, field trips for shelter dogs and new volunteer introductions are postponed until further notice. 

Dog license renewals by mail only. Renewal cards and payment should be made to Hawaii Island Humane Society, 78-6767 Mamalahoa Highway, Holualoa, HI 96725. Checks should be made payable to the Hawaii Island Humane Society. 

Please do not come to the shelters unless you require one of our essential services. The individual shelters can be contacted for appointments by calling the Keaau Shelter 808-966-5458, Kona Shelter 808-329-1175 and Waimea Shelter 808-885-4558. 

Follow us on social media or check out hihs.org for more information. 

Information on Statewide Stay-at-Home Order

Effective March 25, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. through April 30, 2020, everyone in the State of Hawai‘i is required to stay at home or in their place of residence. This supplement to Governor David Ige’s emergency proclamation was announced on March 23, 2020.  Read the supplemental proclamation here

Under the proclamation, individuals may leave their home or place of residence only for essential activities, to engage in essential businesses and operations, and only if their work cannot be conducted through remote technology from home. 

Permitted Activities Outside the Home or Place of Residence

Under the order, the following activities are permitted outside the home: 

  • Travel for health and safety.
  • Travel to engage in, receive or obtain goods or services from the essential businesses or operations identified in the order.
  • Travel to engage in minimum basic operations of non-essential businesses, as well as the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences.
  • Travel to care for elderly, minors, dependents, persons with disabilities or other high risk persons
  • Travel from a person’s home or place of residence to the nearest airport or other facility for departure from the State.
  • Travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement.
  • Outdoor exercise activities so long as social distancing requirements are maintained.
  • Walking pets on a leash.

Read the full details here.

Prohibited Activities Outside the Home or Place of Residence

  • Pursuant to current guidance from the CDC, any gathering of more than 10 people is prohibited unless exempted by this Third Supplementary Proclamation.
  • All other places of public gathering will be closed to the public.

Read the full details here.

Essential businesses defined in the proclamation include: 

  • All businesses or operations identified as federal critical infrastructure sectors or designated by the Director of HIEMA.
  • Healthcare services and facilities.
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine.
  • Food, beverage, cannabis production and agriculture.
  • Educational institutions.
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services.
  • Media.
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation.
  • Financial institutions.
  • Hardware and supply stores.
  • Critical trades, including building and construction.
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services.
  • Laundry services.
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises.
  • Supplies to work from home.
  • Transportation.
  • Home-based care and services. 
  • Residential facilities and shelters. 
  • Professional services. 
  • Child care services for employees exempted by this Order. 
  • Manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries. 
  • Critical labor union functions.
  • Hotels and motels.
  • Funeral services.
  • Government functions.  

Read the full details here.

Social Distancing Requirements

All essential businesses and operations identified herein and persons engaged in permitted activities identified herein, shall exercise the following social distancing requirements to the fullest extent possible:

  • Six-foot distances between individuals
  • Hand sanitizer and sanitizing products
  • Separate operating hours for high risk populations
  • Online and remote access

Read the full details here.

Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

Persons experiencing homelessness are exempt from section I of the proclamation but must comply with the social distancing requirements to the fullest extent possible and are strongly urged to obtain shelter.

Read the full details here.

Criminal Penalties

Any person who intentionally or knowingly violates the order, if convicted, can be fined up to $5,000, or imprisoned up to one year, or both.

Read the full details here.


FHB Reducing Number of Banking Locations

First Hawaiian Bank sent the following e-mail to it’s customers on Wednesday, March 25, 2020:

We recognize that you, our customers, are counting on us for the financial support and stability that is such an important part of managing the impacts of COVID-19. As we closely monitor this pandemic, we are taking the necessary steps to help protect the safety and well-being of our customers and employees. 

In support of the “stay-at-home, work-from-home” measures implemented by the State of Hawaii, and to reduce the person-to-person contact between our customers and employees:

On March 26, 2020 we will be reducing the number of locations that offer full-service banking and regular business hours.

Through this transition, ATMs, access to safe deposit boxes and night depository services will continue to be available at all of our branch locations in Hawaii, Guam and Saipan. 

In conjunction with this change, at our full-service branch locations, we will be reserving the first hour of service to assist seniors and those who are at the highest risk.

This decision was made so we could protect the health and well-being of our customers and employees while providing a safe environment to serve your financial needs.

We also continue to encourage all customers to take advantage of FHB Online and FHB Mobile Banking* to access your account from the safety and convenience of your home. Learn how at www.fhb.com/digital.

We are committed to assisting you as we navigate the hardships caused by this pandemic. Please check our website regularly for updates and a list of full-service branches that are ready to serve you at www.fhb.com/covid19.

3 Pacific Fleet Sailors Test Positive for COVID-19

PEARL HARBOR – A Sailor assigned to a San Diego, California-based squadron, a Sailor assigned to an Everett, Washington-based ship, and a Sailor assigned to a Pearl Harbor, Hawaii-based shore command tested positive for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). 

All three Sailors are currently isolated at their residences, restricted in movement, and receiving appropriate supportive care in accordance with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Guidelines. 

Personnel who were immediately identified as having close contact with these Sailors have been notified, placed in a restriction of movement status at their residences and are being monitored.

U.S. Pacific Fleet commanders and commanding officers are committed to taking every measure possible to protect the health of our force. We remain in close coordination with state and federal authorities, and public health authorities to ensure the well-being of our personnel and local population.

For questions, contact U.S. Pacific Fleet Public Affairs at 808-471-3769.

First COVID-19 Related Death in Hawaii

The Department of Health reports the person passed away on March 20, 2020 and suffered from multiple underlying health conditions. The available history for this person suggests they had a potential indirect travel-related exposure.

The person had been tested at a clinical commercial laboratory, and the results were indeterminate. Follow-up testing today, by the State Laboratories Division, confirmed COVID-19.

All of Hawai‘i expresses condolences to the family of the person who died and shares in grieving their loss. Everyone is encouraged to take care of themselves and their loved ones during these difficult times.

All Commercial Ocean & Trail Tours and State Parks Closed

With yesterday’s announcement that community spread of COVID-19 is likely happening in Hawai‘i, the DLNR Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) has suspended all commercial operator permits until further notice. The suspension is consistent with Governor Ige’s supplemental emergency proclamation, Hawai‘i Dept. of Health (DOH) and Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. This covers hundreds of tour operators, surf and SUP schools, sight-seeing, whale-watching and dinner cruises and any commercial operation operating in state ocean waters.

DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “Many people are not practicing the recommended social distancing protocols, so it’s become necessary for us to take these extraordinary steps to help encourage the six-foot separation between people recommended by Gov. Ige, the CDC and our experts at the DOH. It is hoped that every commercial permit holder and all local residents and visitors will abide by these closures in the spirit of flattening the spread of the corona virus.”

Many state parks were closed five days ago, but the DLNR Division of State Parks announced that it is shuttering all parks, statewide. “Unfortunately,” Curt Cottrell, State Parks Administrator said, “many, many people are simply ignoring gates and signs and choosing to put themselves and any others close-by at risk of contracting COVID-19. This unprecedented step is being taken in the interest of public health and safety and we really encourage people to find alternate activities that do not expose themselves and others to the virus.”

The DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has closed all commercial tours on State trails and wildlife sanctuaries. Any vendors with tours already booked will be refunded.

The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) is receiving reports of people continuing to enter Diamond Head State Monument and other closed parks. This is not only dangerous in places like the outer slopes and crater rim of Diamond Head, but violators are subject to being cited or arrested.

Case said, “We are all in this together.  It is an enormous inconvenience and upsetting to the kind of lifestyle we enjoy in Hawai‘i. The faster we stop the spread of COVID-19 by everyone practicing social distancing, the quicker we’re likely to see our lives return to normal.”

Hawaiʻi Island Delegation Letter to Mayor Kim

A Hawaii Island delegation of elected officials have sent the following letter to Hawaii Mayor Kim requesting immediate action in response to the public health concerns regarding the Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) on Friday, March 20, 2020:

Dear Mayor Kim,

To protect the residents of the County of Hawaiʻi and the long-term stability of our island economy, we implore you to immediately order the shut-down of non-essential county government operations and the sheltering-in-place of all people throughout the County of Hawai‘i.

As Mayor of the County of Hawai’i, we strongly urge you to take the following immediate actions through an Emergency Proclamation and Emergency Rule(s):

  • Institute an immediate countywide shut down for the next fifteen (15) days.
  • Order all people in the County of Hawai‘i to shelter-in-place for the next 15 days and coordinate with the Joint Incident Center under the command of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency Director/Adjutant General Kenneth Hara to immediately use his authority under the March 16, 2020, Emergency Supplementary Proclamation by Governor Ige to take all necessary steps and required means to ensure that the supply chain for basic necessities — such as food, medicine, water, communications, gasoline, cargo and public safety throughout the County of Hawaiʻi — is secure.
  • Request Director/Adjutant General Hara to secure and requisition any needed hospital and medical supplies that are necessary to assist with the coming need to treat individuals due to COVID-19, at all available Hawaiʻi Island medical facilities.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, order the quarantine of all travelers arriving from outside Hawaiʻi at the Hilo and Kona International Airports for a minimum of 15 days.
  • Prohibit all non-essential inter-island and out-of-state travel from Hawaiʻi Island.
  • In coordination with Governor Ige, require the immediate closure of all public and private schools, daycare centers, preschools, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, Hawaiʻi Community College and Hawaiʻi Community College Pālamanui.
  • Require the immediate closure of all County facilities and workspaces, and send home all non-essential County of Hawaiʻi personnel for the duration of the shut down.
  • Limit County of Hawai‘i work to only essential personnel, provided they are equipped with the proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and adhere to spatial distancing guidelines and preventive measures as recommended by the Center for Disease Control and Hawaiʻi Department of Health.

As Mayor, you are the only person who has the direct authority to institute these actions. As state legislators, we passed and continue to support the delegated authority provided to the counties under Hawai`i Revised Statutes (HRS) Chapter 127, which grants you, as Mayor, the power to act in emergency situations such as the unprecedented one we face today. The entire Hawaiʻi Island delegation is speaking with one collective voice, and we implore you to take immediate action for the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the County of Hawai‘i.

Sincerely,

Senator Kaiali‘i Kahele, Senator Russell E. Ruderman, Senator Dru Mamo Kanuha, and Senator Lorraine R. Inouye

Representative Mark M. Nakashima, Representative Chris Todd, Representative Richard H.K. Onishi. Representative Joy A. San Buenaventura, Representative Richard P. Creagan, Representative Nicole E. Lowen, and Representative David A. Tarnas