Hawai‘i is now in its fourth week of the statewide stay at home order and currently has 584 cases of COVID-19, with 423 recovered and 10 deaths. Thanks to your efforts to reduce the spread, Hawai‘i has among the lowest documented rates of COVID-19 infection in the nation, although there are still questions about generally low levels of testing compared to other nations. These positive signs have led to preliminary conversations about how and when the state could reopen. Many are eager to “go back to normal,” but it’s likely that it will happen gradually and in phases. Social distancing, wearing face masks in public, and teleworking may be our “new normal” for many months.

With more time spent at home, some members of our community are in dangerous situations. This week’s Public Health Action Webinar with Angie Mercado, Executive Director of Hawai‘i State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, will focus on the dynamics of domestic violence, the impact of the Stay-At-Home order on those who are being abused, and how you can help. Register for the webinar to learn how health professionals can use trauma-informed screening questions and how community members can help those in need. If you’re looking for more information on the CARES Act economic relief programs, you can watch last week’s webinar with Senator Brian Schatz and Kathleen Algire on our website.

The White House released guidelines for reopening America in three phases. In addition to those guidelines, expanded testing, contact tracing, and improved treatment options are important considerations to safely reopen the economy.

The IRS urges Social Security, railroad retirement and veterans benefit recipients who have qualifying children and did not file a 2018 or 2019 tax return must to go to the IRS Non-Filer tool by Wednesday, April 22, and enter basic information to receive the $500 per eligible child added to their automatic $1,200 Economic Impact Payment. After this date, they will need to wait until 2021.

Unfortunately, the Small Business Administration has run out of funding for the Payment Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans meant to assist payroll and operation costs for small businesses and nonprofits and is no longer accepting new applications. Congress is in deliberations right now on additional funding.

Governor David Ige issued a fifth emergency proclamation on April 17, effective immediately through April 30. New provisions include:

  • Evictions. A temporary prohibition on evictions. The Office of Consumer Protection has more information on this topic.
  • Masks mandatory. Customers and employees of essential businesses that interact with the public must wear face coverings. The Star Advertiser has a list of mask resources. Masks are not required for children under 5, individuals that have trouble breathing, or when at a bank. Masks should not be used on children 2 and under due to the suffocation risk. The American Academy of Pediatrics has guidelines for children and wearing masks.
  • Social distancing. Essential businesses must enforce six-foot distances and limit the number of customers inside the business to allow for adequate social distancing.
  • Outdoor activity restrictions. More than two people cannot participate in activities such as boating, hiking, and fishing together unless they live in the same household.
  • State beach closures. State beaches are closed, except to access the ocean for activities such as surfing, swimming, solo paddling, etc.


Missed the webinar? Watch it here.


Kanu Hawaii’s Volunteer Week has pivoted to virtual opportunities to keep the community connected. Mahalo to all the volunteers helping during these unprecedented times!


Especially with the recent COVID-19 outbreak at a food establishment in Hawai‘i, many are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 through food. The FDA has stated that there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the spread of COVID-19. However, out of an abundance of caution, here are some additional measures you can take to further minimize risk:

  • Wash hands after bringing food home and before, during, and after cooking or eating.
  • Transfer to food to clean containers when possible or sanitize packaging. Rinse produce before eating with water.
  • Utilize contact-free pick up and delivery options when available.

Visit Aloha United Way’s free and a confidential statewide helpline:
Call 2-1-1, Text at 877-275-6569 or online at auw211.org.

We are working to create a comprehensive directory of useful resources for the community. We recognize that information is constantly evolving and changing, so if you have any resources or updates we should include in our next weekly email or website, feel free to contact us at covidresponse@hiphi.org.