$12 Million in HUD Grants for Hawaii Coronavirus Response & Recovery

Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono announced that Hawaii has received more than $12 million in Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants to address the critical housing needs of Hawaii residents during the coronavirus pandemic. These funds come from the third coronavirus relief package Congress passed last week.

The grants include Community Development Block Grants, Emergency Solutions Grants, and grants through the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program. The grants will help service providers respond to the COVID-19 pandemic by increasing resources to protect Hawaii’s vulnerable communities. Potential uses of funding include the purchase of additional personal protective equipment, ensuring critical response infrastructure is available when needed, and helping at-risk populations stay safe. The HUD funds will be distributed to the state, as well as to Hawaii County, Kauai County, Maui County, and the City and County of Honolulu.

“The coronavirus pandemic has stretched resources thin for families and communities across the country,” Senator Hirono said. “This funding is a critical early step in protecting and providing resources for some of our most at-risk populations. I will continue my advocacy to ensure that future coronavirus relief packages prioritize workers, families, and the most vulnerable.”

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!

HPD Begins Enforcement of Stay-at-Home Order, 18 Violations

Governor David Ige’s Third Supplementary Emergency Proclamation, dated (March 23, 2020), Section 1, orders that:

“All Persons in the State Must Stay at Home or in Their Place of Residence Pursuant to sections 127A-12(a)(5), 127A-12(a)(14), 127A-13(a)(1), and 127A-13(a)(7), HRS, all persons within the State of Hawaiʻi are ordered to stay at home or in their place of residence except as necessary to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors, as identified at https://www.cisa.gov/identifyingcritical-infrastructure-during-covid-19 and as further designated below or by the Director of the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA). With respect to persons residing in hotels, condominiums, townhomes, apartments, or other multi-unit dwellings, “place of residence” means the person’s individual hotel room or unit. To the extent, persons use shared or outdoor spaces when outside their residence, they must comply with the social distancing requirements set forth herein to the fullest exte nt possible. All persons may leave their home or place of residence only for essential activities or to engage in the essential businesses and operations identified herein. This order shall take effect on (March 25, 2020), at 12:01 a.m. and remain in place until 11:59 p.m. on (April 30, 2020).”

Sub-section F of the Supplementary Proclamation specifies the penalty associated with violations as follows:

  1. Criminal Penalties – Any person who intentionally or knowingly violates any provision set forth in this Section I shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, the person shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

Hawai‘i Police Department has begun enforcement of this order. 

During the first week spanning (March 25-31, 2020), specific to the offense of “Prohibited Acts” (Emergency Management), Hawaiʻi Police Department officers arrested nine  persons, cited six persons, and initiated criminal cases against three persons (total of 18 violations), broken down by district as follows:

  • Kona District:  3 persons arrested, 4 persons cited
  • South Hilo District:  2 persons arrested, 2 persons cited
  • Puna District:  2 persons arrested, 1 criminal case initiated
  • Kaʻū District:  1 person arrested, 2 cases initiated
  • South Kohala District:  1 person arrested

Weekly updates of the Hawaiʻi Police enforcement efforts will be posted every Wednesday.

First Hawaii COVID-19 Death Possibly Travel-Related, Minor Tests Positive

The first death from COVID-19 has been confirmed as an older adult O‘ahu resident who had recently traveled from Las Vegas. DOH reports 34 new COVID-19 cases today — one is a minor and 33 are adults. The majority of cases are residents (26), one (1) is a visitor and seven (7) are unknown and pending investigation. There are now a total of 258 presumptive or confirmed cases in the state.

Community Surveillance testing has conducted roughly 380 tests to date on representative samples from every island with one (1) positive result on O‘ahu, reinforcing there is limited and localized community spread on O‘ahu.

Today, President Trump granted a Major Disaster Declaration for the State of Hawai‘i triggering the release of Federal funds to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. The declaration is in effect from Jan. 20, 2020 and is continuing. 

The disaster declaration provides assistance to individuals and households and for emergency work and repair or replacement of disaster-damaged facilities. The measure provides direct federal assistance of 75% of the total cost.

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.

Hawaii Arrivals By Air Down to 906

Today is the first day of the state’s expanded 14-day mandatory self-quarantine, which now includes interisland travelers.

Up until yesterday, March 31st, that order only applied to those arriving from out of state.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state yesterday and does not include interisland travel.


Yesterday was the sixth day since the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine started.

Yesterday, 906 people arrived in Hawaii, and of that number, 161 people were visitors. Most of the passengers were either returning residents or crew members.

In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

Hawaii National Guard Ready for COVID-19 Response

The rise in positive COVID-19 cases in Hawaii has prompted the partial activation of the Hawaii National Guard to stand ready to lend their support to their community.

Airmen with Medical Detachment 1 (Med Det 1), Hawaii Air National Guard (HIANG) monitored guardsmen on State Active Duty orders (SAD) during an unprecedented health crisis carrying out daily temperature screenings and health surveys.

On March 23, Soldiers with the Hawaii Army National Guard reported for their first day of duty where they received a medical screening from the comfort of their personal vehicles.“

Our guardsmen were activated to help with the state response to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Air Force Capt. Jeremy Wong, all-hazards triage response chief with Med Det 1 and ER trauma nurse at Queens Medical Center. “Our job is to make sure that they’re gonna be healthy and remain healthy for the duration of their deployment.”

Soldiers completed a health survey disclosing their age, medical history, and if they had traveled recently. They were also screened for COVID-19 symptoms which can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath appearing in as few as two days or as long as 14 days after exposure.

The information collected from the medical screenings was used to establish a baseline of those Soldiers who may be at a higher risk for exposure and infection now sequestering.

Currently, a vaccine is not available for COVID-19 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Airman First Class Jolene Chun, a medical technician with Med Det 1 and as a civilian, a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), expressed the importance of stopping the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, remembering to wash hands often, and looking out for new CDC updates.

“If we’re all monitoring each other and the Soldiers that we’re looking out for,” said Chun. “We could quickly isolate any incident that could happen if it were to get worse.”

Although isolated from the general public, Soldiers are allowed limited interaction with visiting relatives for the purpose of receiving care packages and other goods. While on mission they continue to maintain their mental and physical well-being.

Army Sgt. Shane Seggar, Troop B, 1st Squadron, 299th Cavalry Regiment, is among fellow Soldiers that are training and preparing for the order that calls them into action.

“It’s been good for us. It’s given us a chance to train our guys on stuff we don’t have time to do during IDT (drill weekends),” said Seggar. “We’re teaching classes on Calvary skills. Doing physical training twice a day. They’re all excited to be able to serve their community. That’s why most of these guys signed up and when we get called up, we’ll be ready to go.”

Seggar explained that daily screenings help them keep track of their health and lets them know that they haven’t contracted the virus from the community or each other.

Senior Airman Nicklaus Young, a medical technician with Med Det 1 came on SAD orders temporarily leaving his post as an emergency room technician at Queens Medical Center. He has experienced the influx of people wanting COVID-19 testing, the need for more medical supplies, and the trauma of day-to-day medical patients.

“It is hard because we do run short and it is tough that I am not able to help them,” said Young. “Being in the guard, I do have a duty right now, for my fellow Soldiers and Airmen, doing their screenings making sure they’re fit to fight! And with that, I am relieved to know that I am (still) helping my community in this way.”

Guidance for Homeowners & Renters

The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is providing answers to the following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) to assist homeowners and renters and with inquiries regarding the Landlord-Tenant code.

This FAQ along with more information regarding the Hawai‘i Landlord-Tenant code is available at https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/landlordtenant/.

Landlord Tenant FAQs

Governor David Ige’s recent emergency proclamations concerning the coronavirus invoked special legal requirements applicable to Landlords and Tenants in Hawai‘i.  

The Office of Consumer Protection has created FAQs pertaining to how these provisions impact their legal relationship.  The guidance provided is current as of March 31, 2020 and may be subject to change per actions taken at the state and/or federal level.

I’m current on my rent, but my Landlord has informed me that I must vacate; can they do this?

No. Unless there is a material breach of the lease or the premises are unfit for occupancy, a Landlord cannot currently require you to move. Governor David Ige’s State of Emergency Proclamation(s) automatically activates the provisions of section 127A-30(2) of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which states, that “no Landlord shall terminate any tenancy for a residential dwelling unit in the area that is the subject of the proclamation…except for a breach of a material term of a rental agreement or lease, or if the unit is unfit for occupancy”. 

How long will the special provisions of section 127A-30(2) remain in effect?

A state of emergency terminates automatically sixty days after the issuance of a proclamation of a state of emergency or by a separate proclamation of the governor, whichever occurs first. The date of termination may be extended by a new proclamation.

Do I still have to pay my rent?

Yes. You are still legally obligated to pay your rent.

What if I can’t pay my rent?

You should inform your Landlord if you are unable to pay your rent and explain why. Renters are advised to contact their landlords as soon as they can to talk through delayed or partial payment options.

Can the Landlord evict me if I don’t pay my rent?

Currently, the Hawaii Judiciary has issued several orders that impact the ability of Landlords and their agents to use legal process to evict a Tenant for non-payment of rent. The Judiciary has stated that legal proceedings relating to summary possession or eviction have been postponed to at least April 30, 2020. What this means is that absent extraordinary circumstances, no eviction orders will be issued until at least after April 30, 2020.

I have already been served with an eviction notice; can I be evicted?

If the eviction notice was validly issued by the court you may be subject to an eviction, however, the Sheriff’s Division of the Department of Public Safety, which often assists Landlords with the lawful removal of Tenants and their possessions, has stated that it will not be assisting anyone in the eviction process until further notice.

What if I have a Tenant who is dangerous, or is engaging in illegal activity?

Under these circumstances, a Landlord may go to court to seek relief, including petitioning the court for an order allowing for the lawful removal of the Tenant.

How do I go to court to try to get a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)?

Petitions for Temporary Restraining Orders may be filed at the State District Court Courthouse.
Please see the following link for information related to the district court in your jurisdiction: https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2020/03/Courthouses-Info-3.30.2020.pdf

Are the provisions of the Landlord Tenant Code still in effect?

Thus far, the Landlord Tenant Code has not been suspended by any of the Proclamations issued by the Governor.

Can a Landlord raise my rent?

No. Pursuant to section 127A-30 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes a Landlord is prohibited from increasing rent during the period of the state of emergency declared by the Governor.

Is a notice to increase rent before the issuance of the Proclamation still valid?

In the case of a residential dwelling unit, if rent increases were contained in a written instrument, such as, a lease, that was signed by the Tenant prior to the Proclamation, the increases may take place pursuant to the written instrument.

What if my rental is subject to a federal housing program?

These rentals are subject to federal jurisdiction.

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 https://www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor/ or by calling (800) 569-4287.

UH’s 10 Campuses Move Summer Courses Online

Summer school at the 10 campuses of the University of Hawaiʻi will be held online, allowing students to continue their academic careers while staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The first session runs from May 26 to July 3, and the second session runs from July 6 to August 14. The exact dates may vary slightly from campus to campus.

By May 15, the university will decide whether in-person classes will be added to the second summer session depending on the status of the COVID-19 health crisis. 

Summer registration begins on April 6 for UH West Oʻahu, UH Hilo, UH Maui College, Kapiʻolani Community College (CC), Leeward CC, Honolulu CC, Windward CC, Kauai CC and Hawaiʻi CC in Hilo. Registration is already underway for UH Mānoa with more than 450 UH Mānoa Summer Session courses being offered. 

“We have such a great range of course offerings during the summer session and we hope our students take advantage of the opportunity,” said UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno. “Everyone in the community is invited to take a class or two. With many of us confined to our homes, it is a great opportunity to begin work towards a degree or to take a course in an area of interest.” 

Committee Requests Ige to Put Health Alert Network System Into Place

In a letter dated March 31, 2020 addressed to Governor David Ige, the members of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 requested that his administration and the Department of Health “put in place as soon as possible a public health alert network system to provide critical information and reminders about COVID-19.”

The Special Committee feels that more aggressive messaging to the public is needed as the rules and guidelines for social distancing and sheltering-in-place are not being seriously followed in light of the alarming growth of the pandemic in the U.S.

Text alert systems have been implemented in two counties in Southern California, San Diego and Los Angeles. “Public Safety Alerts are critical to remind both residents and visitors that in order to save lives, stay home,” the letter to the Governor reads. “This includes reminding everyone that beaches, trails, recreation areas, and other public spaces are closed. Social distancing is one of the few tools currently available to fight the spread of the virus.”

The Special Committee points out in the letter that South Korea officials found that emergency texts sent three to five times a day were effective in reducing community spread, as the text messages detailed exact locations and movements of people who have tested positive for COVID-19. Regular reminders and instructions were also sent out early on on how to prevent the virus from spreading, with instructions on social distancing, hand washing, coughing etiquette, and how to care for seniors.

Because of those efforts, South Korea has managed to significantly slow the number of new cases and “flattened the curve.”

Also in the letter, the Special Committee asks that Governor Ige — including the Department of Health and other appropriate members of his administration — to schedule a daily briefing to provide the public with information on COVID-19. “This will help in assuring that the community is receiving the same information on a timely basis.

“The committee requests a response on the strategy and timeline to establish this text alert system and the confirmation on scheduling a daily public briefing by 4:00 p.m., Wednesday, April 1,” with the Special Committee’s emphasis on timeliness in bold.

The letter is signed by Senate Special Committee members Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, Senator Michelle Kidani, Senator Donna Mercado Kim, Senator Sharon Moriwaki, and Senator Kurt Fevella.

Hawaii Supreme Court Postpones Bar Exam

The Hawaii Supreme Court today announced that the Hawaii bar examination will not be administered on July 28-29, 2020 as originally scheduled. This decision was made due to the ongoing public health emergency arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and upon consultation with the Hawaii Board of Bar Examiners. A copy of the order can be found below.

The bar exam has been postponed until the fall, on dates to be determined.

The deadline for the application for this exam has been extended from April 1, 2020 to May 1, 2020.

Please visit the Judiciary’s COVID-19 Information page for the latest news on how it is responding to the pandemic.

Hawaiian Airlines to Support Medical Workers with Free Neighbor Island Flights

Hawaiian Airlines will provide complimentary Neighbor Island flights for medical professionals during the month of April to support travel associated with COVID-19 response efforts. The airline is partnering with Hawai‘i’s leading healthcare providers to maintain and facilitate the delivery of critical medical services to communities statewide.



Partner organizations include the Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated (HEPA), The Queen’s Health Systems, Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, Hawaii Permanente Medical Group, Hawai‘i Pacific Health, and Diagnostic Laboratory Services Inc.

Hawaiian today also announced a new flight schedule designed to provide vital Neighbor Island connectivity in April, during the state of Hawai‘i’s 14-day self-quarantine requirement for interisland passengers, except for those considered by the government to be traveling for essential work or needs.

“This virus has presented an unprecedented test for all of us who call Hawai‘i home, and we are glad to be able to support the exceptional and important work our medical providers are carrying out across our islands each day to meet our state’s healthcare needs and help us overcome this challenge,” said Hawaiian Airlines President and CEO Peter Ingram.

“Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines for your leadership and support during this critical time,” said Jill Hoggard Green, president and CEO, The Queen’s Health Systems. “This extraordinary gesture of aloha will allow our physicians, nurses and staff to continue to provide essential, innovative and compassionate care where it is needed most, and to help our communities stay safe.”

“The doctors of Hawaii Emergency Physicians Associated appreciate Hawaiian Airlines facilitating us travelling to Critical Access Hospitals across the state and particularly to isolated communities on Moloka‘i and Kaua‘i,” said HEPA President Dr. Craig Thomas and Vice President of Operations Dr. Katherine Heinzen Jim, whose physician-owned group consists of 100-plus board-certified physicians. “Without your kōkua we would be unable to care for our communities. Mahalo nui loa.”

Effective April 4, Hawaiian will be providing a total of 16 daily roundtrip flights with Boeing 717 aircraft between Honolulu (HNL) on O‘ahu and Hilo (ITO) and Kona (KOA) on the Island of Hawai‘i, Kahului (OGG) on Maui, and Līhu‘e (LIH) on Kaua‘i. For travelers not originating in or bound for O‘ahu, the schedule was carefully created to offer three daily roundtrips via HNL to all Neighbor Islands. 

The airline will also keep serving both Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i from Honolulu with ATR-42 aircraft operated by ‘Ohana by Hawaiian, which is also providing all-cargo service with ATR-72 aircraft carrying critical goods statewide.

Details on Hawaiian’s revised schedule are available here.

In the meantime, Hawaiian has suspended service between HNL and Pago Pago (PPG) for at least 30 days at the request of the American Samoan government which is seeking to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The airline, which is pausing once-weekly service through at least April 23, remains in close contact with the U.S. territory and stands ready to resume flights as soon as permitted to do so.

For more information about how Hawaiian is supporting travelers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, visit the carrier’s COVID-19 hub.

Gov. Ige Signs Fourth Supplementary Proclamation

Additional Details on Interisland Travel Restrictions

Gov. David Ige today signed a fourth supplementary proclamation that requires all residents and visitors traveling between any of the islands in the State of Hawai‘i to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Those who must travel to perform an essential function, including those providing and seeking medical care, will have to fill out and sign an Interisland Declaration Form, wear appropriate protective gear – primarily masks, and follow all social distancing requirements.

The quarantine mandate takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Wed., Apr. 1. Violations of this order could result in a misdemeanor with fines of up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in prison, or both. If you have questions about whether your travel is essential, please e-mail CovidExemption@hawaii.gov.

Governor Ige Extends Condolences to Family of First COVID-19 Patient

An older adult O‘ahu resident, who was hospitalized with multiple medical issues, is the first person in Hawai‘i diagnosed with COVID-19 to die. Gov. Ige, Lt. Gov. Josh Green, State Health Director Dr. Bruce Anderson, and Hawai‘i Emergency Management Agency Director Kenneth Hara all expressed sorrow for the loss of one of Hawai‘i’s kupuna and offered their condolences to the family. The exact cause of  death has not been determined.

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.

Visitors No Longer Allowed at NHCH

To ensure a healthy and safe environment for patients and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, no visitors are allowed at Queen’s North Hawai’i Community Hospital until further notice.

Limited exceptions may be made in certain situations such as pediatric or maternity patients and end-of- life care; additional screening will be required.

Friends and family members are asked to consider using technology to stay connected and offer support remotely. Free Wi-Fi is available for all patients and phones are available in all patient rooms. Call the hospital operator at 885-4444 to be connected to a patient room.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this visitation restriction may cause. This is a very important way to limit the risk of possible exposure to COVID-19 for our patients, staff and community. We know that visitors and loved ones play an essential role as partners in healing and wellness. The visitation restriction will be reevaluated daily and removed as soon as conditions allow.

Puna Hui Donates Masks to Hilo Medical Center

A small neighborhood group in the Puna District of the Big Island of Hawaii, has donated hundreds of surgical masks to the emergency room at the Hilo Medical Center (HMC).

The “Pahoa Mask Mission Hui,” founded by a group of three residents in the Kalapana Seaview neighborhood, collected and donated 60 N-95 masks and close to 400 hand-made masks. The Hui is led by Annie Stiefel, Bob Kirk and Mary Rose Love.

When delivering the masks, retired nurse Mary Rose Love, reported that the staff were “absolutely delighted.”  A security guard asked for a size large mask and as it was handed to him, he exclaimed, “this is my lucky day!”

Hawaii is just now seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. The state is weeks behind the mainland but has seen daily increases of 10% cases or more per day, with the current count at over 224 cases as of March 31 (15 on Hawaii Island). With only 11 critical care beds, HMC provides care to a population of over 40,000 people. It could easily be overwhelmed. 

According to Stiefel, on Friday, March 20th, she saw the Corona Virus Deaconess news article asking the public to sew masks for hospitals. “A friend who is an ER nurse at HMC messaged me that they indeed need them and would be so grateful for them, which really spurred me on.”

“I posted it on my FB page asking ‘who has a sewing machine and wants to help? I started organizing and gathering supplies that day and asking neighbors and friends to help,” said Steifel. “Everyday I’ve been getting more volunteers. There are a dozen of us now. The Mask Mission Hui!” 

Some have donated money or materials, some precut the fabric and some sew. “In our first week we delivered 430 masks to HMC (60 were new store-bought masks that people had left from the lava flow of 2018), each a labor of love and caring,” said Stiefel. “Each of us are sleeping a little better at night knowing we are doing something to help.”

“We gave 5 masks to a family that has one member that has been tested but they are awaiting results; they have isolated that one person within their home, so they are using masks and gloves within their own home,” said Love. “And, we gave three to the Seaview FedEx delivery person who feels much more comfortable with her work conditions now.”

For more information or if you would like to contribute to the Puna Mask Mission Hui, contact Annie Stiefel at Anniesands@gmail.com.

Letter to Trump: Stop Non-Essential Travel to Hawaii

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is asking other Hawaii county mayors as well as Governor Ige to sign a letter to President Trump asking to stop all non-essential travel into Hawaii until the end of April.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reports that the number of passengers flying into Hawaii continues to drop.

Yesterday, 681 people arrived in Hawaii on the fifth day of the state’s 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all incoming passengers. Of that number, 121 people were visitors.

Most of the passengers were either returning residents or crew members. In comparison, during this same time last year, more than 30,000 passengers arrived in Hawaii daily, including residents and visitors.

This table shows the number of people who arrived by air from out of state on March 30th.

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