The state has paid out almost $3-billion dollars in unemployment benefits since March 1. At this point, many of those on unemployment benefits are reaching the 26-week mark and will need to apply for extensions. The director of the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations said they anticipate a significant increase of workers who have exhausted their regular benefits and will need sign into the portal and apply for a 13-week extension.
A reminder that due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, all County of Kaua’i offices will be closed. Also, the refuse transfer stations will be closed on Monday. The Kekaha Landfill will be open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. for residents and businesses. Residential refuse pickup will not be affected, and the Kaua’i Bus will operate normally. The Waimea and Kapa‘a swimming pools are normally closed on Mondays, so pool staff will observe the holiday on Tuesday.
The County of Kaua‘i has resolved an issue that affected its email server this week and advises the public to resend any emails sent since Tuesday, September 1, to ensure a successful delivery. Due to an issue with its Microsoft system, the county was unable to receive external emails from approximately Tuesday afternoon, September 1, until Wednesday evening, September 2. Officials say if you sent an email to any county personnel during that time and received an “undeliverable” message or have not heard back from the recipient, you should resend the email.
The Kaua‘i County Housing Agency and various organizations will be providing outreach services to homeless individuals and families in Lihu’e on September 18. Mayor Kawakami said, “The primary goal of this planned outreach will be to connect people with housing assistance programs.” The outreach will try to identify prospective tenants for the county’s new permanent supportive housing project. Other services will include the distribution of hygiene items, resource cards and service information.
The trial of Arthur Brun, an elected member of the Kauai County Council, and 11 co-defendants has been postponed until 2021. Brun and the others are accused of drug trafficking in Hawai’i. A US judge postponed the trial, which was scheduled to start in October, saying that constraints on jury trials during the pandemic and the complexity of the case make the delay necessary. Brun’s attorney says Brun opposes the delay because he’s being held in the Honolulu Federal Detention Center.
The Department of Public Works and Goodfellow Bros. LLC., announced that due to the Labor Day holiday, closure of Maluhia Road is scheduled from Tuesday, September 8, at 6 a.m., to Friday, September 11, at 6 p.m. The regularly planned closures from Monday morning through Thursday evening will resume Monday, September 14, at 6 a.m. The dates and times may change depending on the weather and other factors. Access to property within the closure area will be permitted only for residents and others who need to access properties.
No new cases of COVID-19 were reported on Kaua’i on Wednesday and there are no active cases at this time. Officials are urging residents that with the upcoming Labor Day weekend they should be responsible by limiting the number of people, and continue physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings. Health officials believe the spike in cases on O’ahu were the result of large Fourth of July gatherings with participants not wearing masks.
With an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases needing hospitalization, health care officials have put out an urgent call for nurses to assist in the response. Officials in the private, public and nonprofit health care sectors are working together on plans to bring more nurses to the state. Daniel Ross, president of the Hawaii Nurses Association, says that hospitals are already short-staffed.
With demand for travel nearly non-existent, Hawaiian Airlines has announced that it will be furloughing employees starting October 1. The airline said the impacts hit Hawai’i residents hard since 90% of the airline’s employees are based in the state. The company’s president and CEO Peter Ingram said, “Like other small businesses that have been affected it’s devastating for those people who are being separated from employment at this time.”
The economic forecast for Hawai’i is not looking good. Based on current projections, the state is predicting a 12.3% contraction in the economy for 2020. Among the factors are the delay of reopening trans-Pacific tourism until at least October along with the lockdown on O’ahu. Hawai’i Department of Business, Economic Development &Tourism Director Mike McCartney said, “The global COVID-19 pandemic is the most disruptive and challenging event in our lifetime”