In just the last two weeks, there have been many changes to Hawaii’s pandemic response. Governor David Ige introduced a new leadership team for the state’s COVID-19 efforts, a date for the pre-travel testing program was announced, guidance for public schools reopenings were released, and surge testing wrapped up. Hawai‘i appears to have passed the outbreak’s peak in August, though there are still several alarming clusters that persist within the state. We are hopeful that the new team, plans, and programs will provide much needed leadership, transparency, and communication to Hawaii’s COVID-19 response efforts.

Register for our next Public Health Action webinar on September 30, where speakers will share how the purchasing power of public institutions can be used to create a transparent and equitable food system. They will also explore Hawaii’s institutional purchasing opportunities, challenges and bright spots of innovation. You can also watch last week’s webinar on Hawaii’s history of incarceration, the conditions inside our prisons, breaking down the stereotypes of crimes, and how release, reducing arrests, and delaying sentencing can help to protect public health.

Pre-Travel Testing Program begins October 15
The program enables travelers to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine if they can show proof that they tested negative for COVID-19 no earlier than 72 hours before their flight arrives in Hawai‘i. Travelers will still have their temperatures checked upon arrival and must fill out the Safe Travels form. If the traveler’s test results are still pending at the time of arrival, the traveler must quarantine until the results are confirmed to be negative. This chart can help travelers understand the program under different scenarios. For more information and an FAQ, click here.

Job Program for Displaced Workers
This program is designed to help convert the loss of jobs due to COVID-19 into a potential new career opportunity for residents, while also meaningfully diversifying and strengthening Hawaii’s economy. It works by matching displaced workers and recent high school or college graduates with companies in emerging industries into paid internships. There are two tracks for this program: the innovation track through Economic Development Alliance of Hawai‘i and the conservation track through Kupu Hawaiʻi.

City and County of Honolulu

During the City’s most recent stay-at-home order, many of their in-person service locations, such as satellite city halls and driver licensing centers, were temporarily closed and scheduled appointments were cancelled. Depending on the next order, some of these services may reopen. Learn more and stay up-to-date by visiting the City’s website.

With the current Stay-at-Home order set to expire on Wednesday, September 23, Mayor Kirk Caldwell is expected to announce a new order in the next few days. Check the One O‘ahu website for updates on the latest order when it is released.

The Small Business Relief and Recovery Fund, which provides a one-time reimbursement to small businesses to offset costs associated with COVID, has received an additional $75 million in funding, as well as several key changes to the program. With this latest round of funding, the maximum grant amount and size of eligible businesses has been increased. Businesses with annual revenue of less than $2 million can apply for the grant now, while those with $2-5 million in annual revenue can apply for the grant on October 1. In addition, businesses that previously received funding through this program can reapply.

Kaua‘i County
The Kupa‘a Kaua‘i Rise to Work program creates short-term employment opportunities for displaced workers on Kaua‘i. Rise to Work hires will begin their temporary positions in September and are intended work for up to 12 weeks. View the current list of job postings here.

Hawai‘i County
Mayor Harry Kim extended the closure of all County and State Beach Parks through September 30 amid a spike in COVID-19 cases. Beach parks may only be used for ocean access, exercising, fishing and gathering food, and using the bathrooms and shower facilities.




Hawai‘i was approved for a second round of Pandemic EBT benefits for children who qualify for free or reduced-price school meals during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Children must be signed-up for free or reduced lunch by today, September 21, to receive $286 in food assistance benefits per child.



At the beginning of the pandemic, due to stay-at-home orders and concerns of overwhelming our healthcare system, many routine and non-urgent medical visits and procedures were postponed or cancelled. The CDC found that four in 10 U.S. adults reported avoiding medical care because of concerns related to COVID-19, especially among persons with disabilities or underlying health conditions. Even during the pandemic, it is important for people to seek care if they are experiencing a health emergency. Keeping up with routine medical and dental visits is also important to maintain overall health and manage chronic diseases.

Telehealth is one option for patients to receive care safely during the pandemic. Instead of visiting the doctor’s office in person, the medical visit is conducted either through video conferencing or over the phone. The Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center’s website is a great resource with information on what to expect in a telehealth visit, frequently asked questions, and more.

COVID Pau aims to help residents better understand available information about the virus. It offers a curated data dashboard that is updated daily, expert analysis of the data trends, and personal stories of COVID-19 experiences, and a resource directory. Learn more at

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, it’s important to get your annual flu shot now, in September or early October, before the flu season peaks. Vaccination of high-risk people is particularly important to decrease risk of severe flu illness. Flu symptoms can be confused with COVID-19 and health experts are trying to avoid putting additional strain on the healthcare system.

Since the onset of COVID-19, Pandemic Pods, Learning Pods, and Parent Pods have been popping up all over. Pods are built from relationships you have with folks in your neighborhood, faith group, school, or workplace. Vibrant Hawai‘i is hosting a webinar on Monday, September 28 from 5 – 6 PM on how to create a parent pod, pod pitfalls and communication crisis to avoid, COVID-19 health and safety pod guidelines, and answers to your questions so you can get started with confidence and peace of mind!

The Hawai‘i Public Health Training Hui has partnered with Hawai‘i State Departments of Health, Human Services, the Attorney General and the Hawai‘i State Judiciary to bring you a Domestic Violence 101 training. This three-part training will provide information on domestic violence and its effect on our communities, including considerations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The topics are as follows:

Part 1: Dynamics of Domestic Violence
Tuesday, October 6, 2020, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Part 2: Intervention with Perpetrators of Domestic Violence
Tuesday, October 13, 2020, 9:00 AM – 11:30 AM

Part 3: Domestic Violence and Childhood Development
Tuesday, October 20, 2020, 10:00 AM – 12:30 PM (*Please note the different time*)

Due to the nature of this training, the series will not be recorded and will only be available live. Please note that you must attend all three sessions to obtain continuing education (CE) credits. At this time, CEs are pending for RD, Social Work, Nursing, CHES and CSAC.

Join Hawai‘i Appleseed on Wednesday, October 14 at 2 PM for a discussion with Senator Brian Schatz on how we can move Hawaii’s communities forward in the time of COVID-19. Register here to reserve your spot today!

Join AARP Hawai‘i, Lt. Governor Josh Green, HMSA, Kaiser Permanente and the Pacific Basin Telehealth Resource Center for a special Telephone Town Hall on Tuesday, September 29 at 10 AM. They will provide updates on COVID-19 and how you can use telemedicine to maintain your health while staying safe and social distancing during the pandemic. Find out what is meant by telemedicine, how to know if your provider offers it and your insurance covers it, and what you need in order to use it. Register to receive a phone call or livestream this town hall from your computer.

If you have any resources or updates we should include in our next weekly email or website, feel free to contact us at