Mon. 4/27 COVID-19 Daily Update

WATCH: FIRST FRIDAY EPISODE ON LABOR ORGANIZING—PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE

May 1st is International Labor Day!

Let’s start our labor victories celebration with this amazing discussion on labor organizing: past, present, and future. Watch this First Friday episode featuring Ilima Seto-Long from Academic Labor United, Kawehi Apo of Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), and our very own Lisa Grandinetti, organizer for HMSHost Unite Here! Local 5, hosted by Noe Goodyear-Ka’opua.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

LIST: Here are your questions for the state unemployment office, answered (Hawaii  News Now, April 27, 2020)

FAQs from the DLIR answers:

  • 222,000 unique applications have been filed with about 90,000 duplicates for about 310,000 total received so far.
  • It takes three business days for the direct deposit to show up in bank accounts.
  • 181,000 “claims” have been processed so far.
  • 28,000 claims have been denied so far.
  • The application and the claim status portal are available around the clock, but for filing an initial claim online or a certification the only time available to do that is from 6:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends.

DLIR pays out more than 65,000 unemployment claims, backlogged by thousands more (Pacific Business News, April 27, 2020)

The DLIR is still behind on 116,000 claims.  38,000 claims needed manual correction.  78,000 claims needed interactive corrections.

COVID-19 has uneven impact on Hawaii businesses (Star Advertiser, April 27, 2020)

UHERO did a survey of 623 businesses. The survey was not random and did not collect data on public sector employees or any of the large medical systems.

The results showed the hotel industry to be the hardest hit in terms of job losses, with the number of employees falling by 83% from January to April. That’s a loss of 23,252 jobs from a January total of 27,924.

Arts, entertainment and recreation was the next hardest hit category with 78% of jobs lost, followed by retail at 76% and food services at 58%.

The industries with the fewest job losses were finance and insurance with 0.7% of jobs lost and utilities with 0.8%.

The study can be viewed here.

Survey: One-third of Hawaii businesses say their revenues have plummeted to zero (Hawaii News Now, April 27, 2020)

The same UHERO survey says nearly one third of surveyed businesses had revenues drop to zero, 70% of workers laid off made less than $50,000 a year. The hotel industry expects it year over year revenues to be cut in half, roughly half of hotels and restaurants bringing in no revenue right now.

Safety checks for registration renewals waived temporarily (Star Advertiser, April 27, 2020)

Oahu motorists who renew their annual vehicle registration can now do so electronically without a valid safety check at least through May 31.

Marriott’s New Plan for Safe Hotel Stays in the Age of Coronavirus (AFAR.com, April 21, 2020)

Marriott is developing its safety protocols for COVID. Marriott International has brought on public health and infectious disease experts to develop protocols such as intense disinfecting measures and touchless check-in that could define hotel stays during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the next few months, Marriott plans on introducing enhanced cleaning technology at its properties—for instance, staff will be using electrostatic sprayers with hospital-grade disinfectant to sanitize surfaces throughout the hotels. The sprayers will be able to quickly clean and disinfect guest rooms, lobbies, gyms, and other public areas. In addition, the company is testing ultraviolet light technology for sanitizing keys for guests and devices shared by associates.

At more than 3,200 Marriott properties, guests will be able to use their phones to check in, access their rooms, make special requests, and order contact-less room service.

Marriott will be removing or rearranging furniture in common areas and is considering adding plexiglass partitions at its front desks. The company said it is working to make masks and gloves available to employees.

Marriott said it is also implementing enhanced sanitation guidelines and training for food safety, including recommended hygiene and disinfecting practices. It will be modifying its in-room dining services and designing new approaches to buffets, although the company said more specifics on its food and beverage offerings would be made available in the coming weeks.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 3.04M (+70k).  Deaths: 211k (+5k)
USA: Cases: 988k (+23k).  Deaths: 56.2k (+1.4k).  Total Tested: 5.6M (+200k)
Hawaii: Cases:  607 (+1).  Deaths: 14 (+2).  Hospitalized: 68 (+0). Recovered: 493 (+5)

Sunday 4/26 COVID-19 Daily Update

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 2.97M (+70k).  Deaths: 206k (+4k)

USA: Cases: 965k (+27k).  Deaths: 54.8k (+1.1k).  Total Tested: 5.4M (+300k)

Hawaii: Cases:  606 (+2).  Deaths: 14 (+0).  Hospitalized: 68 (+0). Recovered: 488 (+6)

 

If cities open up, Hawaii could place all arrivals in one quarantine location (KITV, April 26, 2020)

If Hawaii continues to enforce a 14-day quarantine for arrivals, the state is looking at creating a single facility to house visitors in quarantine to ensure compliance.

HTA: 3 days of increasing passenger arrivals (KITV, April 26, 2020)

There were 135 visitors arriving in Hawaii on Saturday.

Sunday’s COVID-19 case count: 2 new cases, statewide total 606

Ige limits independent power of county mayors in latest proclamation (Hawaii News Now, April, 26, 2020)

Ige’s most recent proclamation order on Saturday apparently allows the state more power to control county responses to the pandemic.  The rules now should help make an organized response while allowing counties some ability to request specific policy for their counties.

Residential evictions on hold for another month under moratorium (Hawaii News Now, Apri 26, 2020)

Landlords cannot kick out anyone who fails to pay residential rent through May 31st, an extension from the April 20th moratorium. Violators face a misdemeanor charge, punishable by up to one year in jail or a $5,000 fine.

Here’s How The Coronavirus Has Transformed Hawaii (Civil Beat, April 26, 2020)

A collection of interesting statistics showing how daily life has changed ranging from traffic to prisoner releases to energy consumption, and other data about responses to COVID.

 

 

Sat. 4/25 COVID-19 Daily Update

DOUBLETREE HILTON ALANA WAIKIKI WORKERS RATIFY 1ST UNION CONTRACT

Congratulations DoubleTree workers! They ratified their first union contract with a 100% YES vote.

HARIETT CLASSES ARE NOW ONLINE

Our training trust fund HARIETT has moved all their classes online! Earn a certificate, learn a new language or skill, improve yourself—all from the comfort of your own home.

View the courses here.

To register, visit HARIETT’s website.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

As frustrations mount, state further expands phone bank set up for unemployment claims (Hawaii  News Now, April 25, 2020)

The Hawaii Convention Center phone bank that was set up to process unemployment claims is expanding to accommodate more volunteers, and phone bank hours will also be extended. There will be two shifts starting Monday. The first from 7:00am to 12:00pm, and then from 1:00pm to 6:00pm, Monday through Saturday.

Governor extends stay-at-home order, quarantine for travelers through May 31 (HawaiI News Now, April 25, 2020)

Following the Honolulu extension, the state order is also extended now.

Ige also announced:

  • Reopening state beaches for exercise, allowing walking and running on beaches but not loitering
  • Elective medical procedures will now be allowed
  • The Transportation Department will continue stronger enforcement of mandatory, 14-day quarantine.
  • Extend a moratorium on evictions, including for non-payment of rent, through May 31.

Opening up the economy won’t save the economy (Vox, Aril 25, 2020)

This article uses Open Table’s online restaurant reservation data to illustrate the point that people stopped going to restaurants before the lock down orders were announced because they were truly concerned about infection.  The article argues that just because restaurants and businesses are allowed to open again doesn’t mean customers or business will automatically return.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 2.9M (+100k).  Deaths: 202k (+6k)

USA: Cases: 938k (+48k).  Deaths: 53.7k (+2.7k).  Total Tested: 5.1M (+400k)

Hawaii: Cases:  604 (+3).  Deaths: 14 (+0).  Hospitalized: 68 (+1). Recovered: 482 (+17)

Fri. 4/24 COVID-19 Daily Update

WATCH THE RECORDING OF OUR FACEBOOK LIVE WITH JENNY JOHNSON

Today, we hosted another Facebook Live to promote our Local 5 hardship fund. We featured Jenny Johnson from the Sheraton Waikiki. Watch Jenny bake cookies and promote our Hardship Fund! 

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

State attorney general tells Hawaii Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 that 14-day visitor quarantine may last (April 24, 2020)

The state attorney general said today that even after Hawaii reopens for tourism, there’s likely to be a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for a while. The state is also exploring the constitutionality of other quarantine ideas like: requiring quarantining visitors to wear ankle bracelets; employing Facebook recognition; using 24/7 GPS monitoring; requiring visitors to stay in designated locations, which might be guarded.

HTA CEO Chris Tatum said the quarantine is not likely to be lifted until the state has processes in place “to protect our residents and to ensure the virus is not coming.”

Mayor unveils plan to gradually reopen Honolulu (KHON, April 24, 2020)

The stay-at-home order will remain in place with the gradual reopening of different categories of businesses. “If there’s an order in place and it moves forward, month by month, with fewer things in place… we can protect ourselves from seeing a spiking of this virus,” Caldwell said.

Botanical gardens are considered low risk, and will be reopening May 1. “We’ve also talked about aiming towards May 1 for golf courses with a lot of limitations. Car dealerships, real estate transactions by appointment only with a lot of limitations–everyone wear a mask. When you go to an open house, only one person in the open house at a time with the broker. And certain other businesses with remote interfaces.”

The goal is to move forward slowly to prevent another spike in COVID-19 cases in a few months.

City partners with community organizations to launch massive food distribution program (Hawaii News Now, April 24, 2020)

$2M was donated to Hawaii Foodbank to have two distributions a week alternating at the soccer complex and three other venues: Kakaako Waterfront Park, Kaiaka Bay Beach Park in Haleiwa and Waimanalo District Park.

About 200 Local 23 members and community allies rallied online Monday, demanding that the New Orleans Convention Authority release $100 million to help the city’s hospitality workers.

The action continued with a clergy vigil on Tuesday. Today, workers submitted a petition and 90 written comments in support of their demands to the Convention Center board, which later voted to release just $1 million. However the Communications Workers of America threatened to pull its August 2021 convention if the board refuses to negotiate. “The last thing we’d ever do is cross a picket line.” CWA Secretary-General Sara Steffens told The Lens.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 2.8M (+100k).  Deaths: 196k (+6k)

USA: Cases: 890k (+21k).  Deaths: 51k (+1.0k).  Total Tested: 4.7M (+100k)

Hawaii: Cases:  601 (+5).  Deaths: 14 (+2).  Hospitalized: 67 (+4). Recovered: 465 (+8)

Thu. 4/23 COVID-19 Daily Update

Tune in for another Facebook Live tomorrow @5pm with Jenny Johnson from Sheraton Waikiki. Watch Jenny bake cookies and promote our Local 5 Membership Hardship Fund!

New Resource Added:

Hardship assistance for Hotel & Travel Industry Federal Credit Union Members: https://www.htifcu.com/coronavirus-update/

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 2.7M (+80k).  Deaths: 190k (+7k)

USA: Cases: 869k (+27k).  Deaths: 50k (+3.4k).  Total Tested: 4.6M (+100k)

Hawaii: Cases:  596 (+4).  Deaths: 12 (+0).  Hospitalized: 63 (+7). Recovered: 455 (+11)

Fed, facing pressure, commits to disclose monthly who’s getting bailouts (Politico, April 23, 2020)

The Federal Reserve on Thursday announced it will reveal every month the names of companies that borrow under its massive emergency lending programs, as it faces intense pressure to be transparent about the use of bailout money.  This is good news as it would disclose CARES Act funding including CESA loans that include labor neutrality provisions.   However, Paycheck Protection Program loans administered by the Treasury Dept. and the SBA and Federal Reserve financial market support programs not under the CARES Act are not covered by this transparency pledge from the Federal Reserve.

State raises concern about city’s ambitious testing program, saying kits aren’t FDA-approved (Hawaii News Now, April 23, 2020)

Honolulu is planning to spend $2M on 10,000 testing kits from company called EverlyWell.  The tests are FDA approved only under an emergency use standard.  The State is expressing doubt about the tests and the state and county are reported to be pointing fingers at each other about response communication among leadership.   the tests are to be used at community health centers, but it appears the city can’t move forward without state approval.

OSHA leaves it to employers to monitor coronavirus at work (Pacific Business News, April 23, 2020)

I linked to another news article about how the DOL and OSHA has abrogated its responsibilities to crate safe workplaces for workers. This article details how federal OSHA has left it up to employer to monitor and enforce coronavirus controls.  the article says that OSHA has received about 2,400 complaints and resolved 1,400 of them with no citations issued yet.

The agency said it would not enforce the record-keeping requirement for COVID cases until further notice, except when the employer could obtain clear evidence that the infection was work related, a substantially higher bar than before. Only employers in health care, emergency response or prisons must apply the standard record-keeping procedure in COVID cases.  This could make contact tracing more difficult.

Former OSHA officials also note that the agency has not issued a so-called emergency temporary standard that would instruct employers across a variety of industries to put safety protocols into effect and raise the prospect of fines for failing to do so.

Hawaii manages its own OSHA regulations under HIOSH, and James Hardway suggests looking at the “General Duty” requirement under HIOSH rules to motivate Hawaii employers to take infection control actions to protect workers.

Supreme Court sides largely with environmentalists in Maui wastewater case (Hawaii  News Now, April 23, 2020)

In a 6-3 decision, SCOTUS says that polluters can’t get around the Clean Water Act environmental protections by injecting wastewater into the ground first before it eventually reaches waterways.    Still, the court did not go as far as the federal appeals court, which adopted a standard that would have brought even more groundwater discharges under the clean water law.

Wed. 4/22: COVID-19 Daily Update

WATCH THE RECORDING OF OUR FACEBOOK TOWN HALL ON HEALTHCARE & PENSION

Today, we hosted another Facebook Live Town Hall, which focused on our Local 5 healthcare and pension. We were joined by Carla Jacobs from Benefit & Risk Management Services (BRMS), Lani Meniano Rivera who works at the Hilton Hawaiian Village, and our Financial Secretary-Treasurer Eric Gill. In case you missed it, you can watch the recording here.

We will be hosting Facebook Live sessions every Wednesdays and Fridays at 5pm. “Like” our Facebook page so that you’ll receive notifications on our future live sessions.

NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

Hilton Grand Vacations puts construction of Waikiki tower on hold due to Covid (Pacific Business News, April 22, 2020)

Hilton Grand Vacations has put construction of its $370M, 32-story, 191-unit time-share tower on the former King’s Village site in the center of Waikiki on hold because of coronavirus. The Ka Haku by Hilton Grand Vacations project was to begin vertical construction this spring with completion in 2022. Sales were to have started this year.

New unemployment call center opens in hopes of easing Hawaii’s severe backlog of claims (Hawaii News Now, April 22, 2020)

This new call center at the Hawaii Convention Center will accommodate up to 30 lines and will be expandable to other areas and has a full-blown system which allows us to queue people up,” said DLIR. It’s the fourth and biggest call center so far—with technology that the other sites didn’t have. Murakami said because more volunteers than expected showed up for training earlier this week, the call center won’t be operational until the weekend. Volunteers who were trained to process claims, however, will begin doing so on Wednesday.

Trump says immigration order will apply only to green cards and will last 60 days (CNN, April 22, 2020)

The temporary rule barring immigration will only apply to people seeking green cards, lasts 60 days, and won’t affect workers entering the country on a temporary basis.

USDA Increases Monthly SNAP Benefits by 40% (KITV, April 22, 2020)

All SNAP households that are eligible to receive less than their maximum benefit will receive the emergency allotment supplement to bring them up to the maximum. By law, SNAP households are not permitted to receive more than the maximum allotment. SNAP emergency allotments allow states to raise benefits to the maximum amount for the household’s size for up to two months, and USDA is providing additional guidance today to states that want to further extend these emergency allotments month by month as prescribed by the law.

Domestic violence shelter on O’ahu reaches full capacity (KITV, April 22, 2020)

A shelter for victims of domestic violence run by Parents and Children Together (PACT) on Oahu is now at full capacity. It has seen a 20-30% increase in requests since the start of the pandemic. They are working on opening another shelter.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 2.62M (+60k).  Deaths: 183k (+6k)

USA: Cases: 842k (+17k).  Deaths: 46.6k (+1.6k).  Total Tested: 4.4M (+250k)

Hawaii: Cases:  592 (+6).  Deaths: 12 (+0).  Hospitalized: 63 (+7). Recovered: 444 (+7)