Out of an abundance of caution, Honolulu City Council Chairman Ikaika Anderson today announced that in-person testifying will no longer be available beginning tomorrow, Thursday, August 27, at Honolulu Hale and will stay in effect for the duration of the newest government directive, triggered by the surging number of positive COVID-19 cases. Mayor Caldwell’s Emergency Order No. 2020-25, which goes into effect at 12:00 a.m. August 27 and will continue through September 9, 2020, mandates that all citizens stay at home and work from home, with certain exceptions including essential workers. “On behalf of the City Council, we still welcome anyone interested in testifying to take part in the legislative process but for the sake of public safety, everyone must comply with the Stay-at-Home order,” said Chairman Anderson. “As always, testifiers can submit written testimony or share their mana‘o remotely by video or audio.” Since May, the Council has been receiving remote public testimony. Persons wishing to participate in that format can register online and are strongly encouraged to register at least 24 hours before the start of the meeting. More information on how to submit written or oral testimony can be found by going to these web sites: http://www.honolulu.gov/council/default.html and http://www.honolulucitycouncil.com/
The ramp exiting Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam onto the H-1 Freeway eastbound will be continue to be closed intermittently weeknights between 8:00pm and 4:00am, through December 2020.
HPD says bar and restaurant owners who flout Mayor Caldwell’s closure order could face fines, prison
UPDATE: 7:10 p.m.
Honolulu Police Department officials said the operator of a restaurant or bar could “in rare cases” be arrested and face a hefty fine and/or jail time for violating Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s new emergency proclamation requiring the closure of all bars and nightclubs, and mandating restaurants and cafes that serve food to either offer drive-through, pickup and/or delivery service or shutter its doors.
Caldwell’s proclamation is effective 8:30 a.m. Friday.
Upon a receiving a report of a possible violation, “an officer will be sent to the establishment to meet with and inform the owner or manager of the rules and orders that have been put in place due to the current state of emergency,” HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu said. “Anyone who refuses to comply could be warned, cited or, in rare cases, arrested. The penalty is up to a $2,000 fine and/or one year imprisonment.”
“We really think that our business owners are conscientious and that they will be responsible and comply on their own,” Police Chief Susan Ballard said.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed an order requiring all Oahu restaurants, bars and nightclubs to close indoor and outdoor dining services starting at 8:30 a.m. Friday.
“We do not want people to gather together,” the mayor said.
The order will be good for at least 15 days, Caldwell said at an afternoon news conference from Honolulu Hale where he discussed city government’s latest response to the coronavirus crisis.
Takeouts and delivery services will be allowed to continue and Caldwell urged restaurateurs to do so.
The prohibition does not apply to stores, supermarkets, offices or other types of businesses although state and federal health officials are strongly recommending that no more than 10 people gather in one place.
In response to questions, Caldwell said he consulted with city Acting Corporation Counsel Paul Aoki before making the decision to sign the order. “We’re on solid legal ground,” he said.
The mayor was not clear on specifically how the restaurant closure order would be enforced. “We’re hoping that businesses will comply,” Caldwell said. “I believe that we are a community where we care about each other and that when orders are issued, most people if not all will follow them.”
Caldwell said he thinks customers will provide those who don’t observe the order the proper ramifications by not patronizing them.
“If need be, we can investigate and crack down but I’m hoping that does not occur,” Caldwell said. “That would fall partly to to the Honolulu Police Department — they’re super busy with all kinds of other issues and we don’t want to put this burden on their plate so I’m hopeful we’ll get the compliance that this order mandates.”
Caldwell also announced that all city facilities including parks will be closed through April 30. The city does not have jurisdiction over the sand below the so-called “high water mark” to the ocean. In acknowledgement of that, city lifeguards will continue to work their areas.
Other city facilities that will be closed and weren’t announced before today: the Honolulu Zoo, city golf coourses and tennis courts. Comfort stations at all city facilities will be closed, he said.
Caldwell also signed into law Bill 35, allowing him to tap $120 million in rainy day funds to tackle the affects of the coronavirus crisis. The City Council voted 7-0 this morning to approve the measure.
He said city bus and Handi-Van services will continue on a regular schedule, but urged riders to maintain social distance.
Core city services, including police fire, ambulance, and ocean safety will function as normal, he said, as will city garbage, sewer and water services.
Managing Director Roy Amemiya said those city employees who are deemed “non-essential” will be required to work from home if the job allows it. Other non-essential workers would be required to stay at home and not work, but will get paid but he stressed that there are only a limited number of employees in that category.
The city has roughly 10,000 employees, including about 2,000 police officers, 1,000 firefighters, 500 paramedics and emergency medical technicians. They will all be working.
Among other city services that will continue: satellite city halls and Department of Planning and Permitting customer service desks as well as inspection services.
Watch the livestream video from today’s press conference beginning at 3 p.m.
Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
Staff members from Councilmember Joey Manahan’s office responded to request for readers for Makalapa Elementary Schools annual Read Aloud & Career day on Wednesday, February 19, 2020. This year’s theme was “Be Kind” focusing on kindness and respecting one another and how those values are shared in our careers and in our personal life.
Chief of Staff, Radiant Cordero and Community Liaison, Dennis Arakaki, shared highlights of their careers in government service and how important reading is to their work. They also offered a glimpse of what it is like to serve in government and working to improve conditions in the City and County of Honolulu and their neighborhoods. Cordero and Arakaki also shared how important it is to develop partnerships and work together with all parts of the community making it relevant to the students who came from military families and long-time residents.
Cordero read to the Kindergartners who were excited and enthusiastic, while Arakaki read to fifth graders who were responsive and inquisitive.
Lawmakers in Hawaii’s largest city just passed what could be one of the strictest bans on single-use plastics in the country.
The Honolulu City Council this week voted 7-2 to pass Bill 40, which bans businesses and restaurants in Honolulu County from serving food and beverages with plastic straws and utensils and containers made of polystyrene foam. The legislation will take effect in phases, with polystyrene foam being banned first in 2021 and disposable plastic being banned in 2022.
The measure will cover Honolulu County, which the council oversees and includes the entirety of Oahu, Hawaii’s most populated island.
Lawmakers on the Big Island and Maui County, which includes the islands of Maui and Molokai, have previously banned foam containers but those measures do not cover plastic utensils. Honolulu County followed suit in 2015 and banned plastic bags in grocery stores, making Hawaii the only state at the time to completely ban most plastic bags.
Hawaii’s efforts to reduce use of disposable plastic is part of a growing wave across the country. This year, legislatures and city councils in at least 34 states have passed or considered measures that ban or discourage single-use plastic bags, polystyrene foam and single-use plastic utensils.
California started years ago, passing a statewide ban on plastic bags at large retail stores in 2014; a referendum forced the issue onto the November 2016 ballot where it passed to remain in effect. New York passed a similar measure this April. However, few governments have passed sweeping bans that cover a wide variety of plastic products, such as the one in Honolulu.
Local and national environmental groups are celebrating the measure as a major win in the fight against single-use plastics, which contribute to climate change with greenhouse gas emissions during production and transportation and account for about 85% of trash found in beaches and waterways.
Isolated in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, residents of Hawaii depend heavily on imports for everyday products including milk, gas, bread, clothes and construction materials, making it one of the most expensive states to live in the U.S. Hawaii is also uniquely affected by the world’s plastic pollution problem, collecting plastic trash that originated from various places around the world.
Business groups in Hawaii pushed back against previous versions of the bill, arguing the measure unfairly burdened local businesses, pitting them against big box stores and forcing them to increase their prices ― thus making products in the state even more expensive.
Hawaii’s Chamber of Commerce was concerned the measure would threaten smaller businesses who would have to invest in more expensive non-plastic materials to package their food products.
Hawaiian Chip Co. owner Jimmy Chan, speaking for the Hawaii Food Manufacturers Association, said Wednesday that there aren’t sustainable plastic alternatives that are affordable, the Pacific Business Journal reported. He also said plastic provides consumers with “a certain amount of food safety.”
Before the bill was passed, lawmakers amended it to resolve both environmentalists’ and the food industry’s concerns. The version that was passed this week includes exemptions for prepackaged items such as musubi wraps, chip bags, bread bags, ice bags and plastic bags used for loose items including vegetables, ground coffee, raw fish and meat, and newspapers.
Paul Kosasa, the CEO of ABC Stores, a local general store chain in Hawaii, previously opposed the bill but later accepted it after lawmakers made revisions to the bill to address business owners’ concerns.
Kosasa told HuffPost that businesses like his were initially blindsided when the bill banning plastics first came out but lawmakers started to pay attention to business owners once they protested against the proposed measure.
“While [the bill] is still not perfect, it did enough to alleviate our concerns,” Kosasa said, noting that the exemptions for raw meat and fish products were important for businesses to keep their products safe for consumers.
“There’s more things that have to happen to it but there’s been enough changes to it that gives us some time to become more eco-friendly,” he added.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to sign the bill into law.
(Source: Civil Beat)
(Source: Civil Beat)
(Source: Civil Beat)
Opponents of the city proposal say closing parks is not the answer when better enforcement and maintenance is needed.