Coronavirus in Hawai‘i: Public Schools Will Remain Closed for the Rest of the School Year

Your daily update of everything you need to know related to COVID-19 on April 17.

Hawai‘i reports 12 new cases, bringing its total to 553. Eleven are residents, one is a visitor. To date more than 22,000 tests have been run and 390 people have recovered. 

 

The Hawai‘i Department of Health continues to monitor clusters on Maui and the Big Island. A new case identified yesterday brings Maui Memorial Hospital’s total to 42. The cluster linked to two Kona McDonald’s restaurants now has a total of 14. Both are believed to have started with employees who went to work while ill. 

 

Hawai‘i’s 37% unemployment rate is now the highest in the nation.

 

Businesses with liquor licenses can now sell unopened beer and wine, and pre-packaged cocktails via takeout, pickup and delivery, thanks to an executive order signed today by Gov. David Ige. The order also authorizes the Honolulu Liquor Commission to waive, suspend or postpone deadlines and administrative procedures related to liquor licenses or classes.

 

Starting today, Ige added a Fifth Supplemental Emergency Proclamation to his rules effective through April 30 which:
 

  • Places a moratorium on evictions from residentials dwellings for failure to pay rent. Any violation is considered a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or a year in jail.
     

  • Brings the state’s face covering rules up to speed with those issued by the counties. All individuals must wear a cloth face covering in public, unless participating in outdoor activities or exercising. 
     

  • Closes all state beaches. No one can sit, stand, lie down, lounge, sunbathe or loiter on a Hawai‘i beach or sandbar. Walking across the beach to access the ocean for exercise is still allowed as long as social distancing is practiced.
     

  • Places restrictions on recreational boating. No more than two people are allowed on a boat, unless part of the same family or household. People on board must stay 6 feet apart. Boats must stay 20 feet apart.
     

  • Expands social distancing mandates for essential businesses. Employees and customers must wear face coverings while waiting to enter and inside. Customers in line must stay 6 feet apart. Checkout areas must be modified to allow for 6 feet of distancing or a transparent barrier between customers and clerks. Businesses must post a sign at their entrance instructing employees and customers to practice social distancing, avoid unnecessary physical contact and avoid entering if not feeling well.

The Hawai‘i State Department of Education announced that distance learning will continue for the rest of the school year, which ends on May 28. Extended learning programs will be offered through the summer. Traditional high school commencement ceremonies will be replaced with alternate ceremonies, potentially online, that will take place in late May. A summer internship program is in the works to provide graduating students with internship opportunities at HIDOE facilities and within its IT departments, and as tutors for fellow students. 

 

A new telehealth hotline for HIDOE students will launch at the end of April, created by the HIDOE in partnership with UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene. Students, assisted by parents, will be able to connect with LPNs and RNs to have their physical and mental health assessed and receive referrals for services. The HIDOE also expands its grab-and-go meal program to two nonschool sites in Wai‘anae. 

 

READ MORE STORIES BY BRIE THALMANN