Community Newsletter | July 21, 2020

On July 10th, the 2020 legislative session adjourned Sine Die. This session was a particularly difficult one due to COVID-19. I am grateful that we were able to come to an agreement on a number of measures that will benefit our community and the State of Hawai'i.

Although the legislature is in interim, there is still work to be done. Please reach out to my office at or (808) 586-7335 should you need any assistance.
Kind regards,

Senator Lorraine R. Inouye
Senate District 4 | Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikoloa, and Kona
COVID-19 Count Update
Governor Ige Delays Pre-Travel Testing
Program for Hawaii Arrivals

Gov. David Ige announced he will delay the launch of the pre-travel testing program for incoming travelers to Hawai‘i. The program is now scheduled to begin on Sept. 1. This means all travelers entering the State of Hawai‘i will be subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine until Sept. 1, when the pre-travel testing program is scheduled to begin.

The governor made this decision in collaboration with Hawai‘i’s four county mayors. Several factors contributed to the decision to delay the pre-travel testing program. They include:

  • The continental U.S. (mainland) is seeing large, uncontrolled outbreaks in some of Hawai‘i’s main visitor markets, including California. Many of these communities are increasing restrictions and rolling back reopening plans.
  • Hawai‘i is seeing an increase in cases.
  • The outbreaks on the mainland are affecting Hawai‘i’s testing supply, including an interruption in our supply chain from the mainland.
  • Hawai‘i anticipates an uptick in cases when schools re-open in August.

Once it is launched, the pre-travel testing program will be an important part of the state’s multi-layered screening process to protect residents and visitors. Some new details include:

  • Travelers will be exempt from the 14-day quarantine if they test negative after taking a COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours in advance of travel.
  • The test must be a nucleic acid amplification test or NAAT test conducted at a CLIA-certified laboratory.
  • If test results are not available by the time of arrival in Hawaiʻi, the traveler will remain in quarantine until their test results are received. If the test results are negative and can be verified, the traveler will then be exempt from the quarantine.
  • All travelers are subject to the pre-test requirement, including children of all ages.
  • Travelers are responsible for the cost of the test.
  • No commercial testing will be provided at Hawaiʻi airports.
County of Hawai‘i Announces
Reopening of Swimming Pools
The County of Hawai‘i announced the reopening of several swimming pools around the island beginning last week. All pools will operate on modified schedules with interim rules and use procedures in place. 

The following pools will each provide 45-minute time slots for individual lap swimming at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on a first-come, first-served basis on the assigned days.
  • Charles “Sparky” Kawamoto Swim Stadium
    • Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Pahoa Community Aquatic Center
    • Tuesday/Thursday/Sunday
  • Kona Community Aquatic Center “KCAC”
    • Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Konawaena Swimming Pool
    • Monday/Wednesday/Friday
  • Kohala Swimming Pool
    • Wednesday/Thursday/Friday
  • Pāhala Swimming Pool
    • Monday/Wednesday/Friday
The County will continue to evaluate sanitization procedures as well as the adherence to modified pool rules to ensure the safety of staff and swimmers.  Available days/hours may be expanded in the coming weeks provided COVID-19 public health conditions and other variables are amenable to such.  

Honoka‘a Swimming Pool will remain closed due to active construction work. NAS Swimming Pool, which is currently the site of the Hale Hanakahi Shelter program, will remain closed. Laupāhoehoe Swimming Pool will reopen later upon resolution of recurring water clarity issues, which are being addressed.

The COVID-19 Modified Pool Rules will be posted at each facility.

For more information contact the Department of Parks and Recreation Aquatics Section at 961-8740.
2020 Legislative Session Highlights
SB75 SD2 HD1 – Relating to AppropriationsAppropriates federal CARES Act funding to the counties, including $80,009,671 to Hawaii County for COVID-19 public health response efforts.

SB126 SD1 HD1 CD1 – Relating to the State BudgetAppropriates over $800 million in CARES Act funding designated for the State Act to provide assistance to renters and homeowners; purchase and distribute personal protective equipment to hospitals, childcare facilities, elderly care facilities, businesses, non-profits, and schools; improve airport screening and health assurance security initiatives; support retraining and workforce development programs; provide grants to support the development of a supply chain for cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment; provide food assistance to families in need; support the commercial fishing industry; support public high school seniors who were adversely affected by school closures; and provide additional weekly unemployment benefits to eligible recipients; and other eligible programs as determined by the Governor. 

HB1819 HD2 SD3 Relating to Hemp: Legalizes the growth of hemp in the State through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) hemp production program. Allows the processing and sale of hemp products in the State through State licensing. Expedites the substitution of the USDA hemp production program for the existing industrial hemp pilot program as required by federal law. 

SR125 SD1 – Relating to Water Carriers: Requests the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) and respective Counties to provide at least $15,000,000 in financial assistance to water carriers to enable them to maintain essential routes and lines of service within the State. The measure also requests that the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) convene a working group on or before August 1st, 2020 to recommend mid- and long-term solutions to ensure continuous water carrier service throughout the State.
Hawaii Unemployment Rate for June
The Hawai‘i State Department of Labor & Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was 13.9 percent compared to the revised rate of 23.5 percent in May. Statewide, 527,600 were employed and 85,200 unemployed in June for a total seasonally adjusted labor force of 612,800. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 11.1 percent in June, down from 13.3 percent in May.

The DLIR would like to note that the COVID-19 Pandemic is impacting the data derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS), the survey used to produce the unemployment rate, also known as the household survey. In the household survey, individuals are classified as employed, unemployed, or not in the labor force based on questions about their activities during the survey reference week (June 7th through June 13th). The major discrepancy, with the exception of those unemployed on temporary layoff, is that individuals without a job who are not actively seeking work, particularly during this time of government-ordered business closures and social distancing requirements, are classified as not in the labor force in the CPS.
2020 Hawaii Primary Election

The County of Hawai‘i Elections Division announced that mail-in ballots for the Primary Election began arriving at the homes of registered voters on July 15, 2020. If you do not get your ballot by July 27, please contact Elections Division at 961-8277 or 323-4400. 

Please note that you do not need a postage stamp when mailing your ballot back to Elections Division.

From this year, voting in Hawai‘i County is being conducted primarily by mail-in ballot. However, there will be two Voter Service Centers (VSC) for voters who prefer to vote in person.  Walk-in voting will be conducted: 

  • Primary Election 2020: July 27- August 08
  • General Election 2020: October 20 - November 3

The VSC locations are: 

  • County of Hawai‘i Aupuni Center, Conference Room: 101 Pauahi St. Suite 1 Hilo, HI 96720 Monday - Saturday (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
  • West Hawai‘i Civic Center, Community Room - Building G: 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy. Kailua Kona, HI 96740 Monday - Saturday (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
COVID-19 Testing Centers
From Hilo to Kona and North Kohala to Ka'u, find an updated list of testing sites on the County of Hawai‘i's Covid Response website.

Community Spotlight:

La'i'ōpua 2020 has launched Mea Kanu Tuesdays, on which it will provide free bags of fresh produce to Big Islanders weekly.

Pick-up is available at the La‘i‘Ōpua Center, located at 74-5210 Keanalehu Drive in Kailua-Kona, this Tuesday at 5 p.m. for as long as supplies last. One bag of produce will be distributed per vehicle.
Farm Aid COVID-19 Farmer Resilience Initiative Grants

Hawai‘i food producers whose livelihoods depend on farming are encouraged to apply for a one-time emergency relief payment of $500 from Farm Aid. 
Funds are being administered by the Hawai'i Farmers Union Foundation and The Kohala Center. Applications are due no later than 6 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28, 2020.
Copyright © 2020 Office of Senator Lorraine R. Inouye, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
Office of Senator Lorraine R. Inouye
415 S. Beretania Street Room 210
Honolulu, HI 96813

Office Line: (808) 586-7335

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Hawaii State Senate · 415 S. Beretania St. Room 210 · Honolulu, HAWAII 96813 · USA

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