Tue. 5/5/20: COVID-19 Daily Update


Tomorrow’s Facebook Live Town Hall will continue our discussion on reopening Hawaii tourism, with guests from other labor unions that also represent airline & airport workers. Local 5 represents airline catering workers who work for United Airlines and Gate Gourmet, as well as HMS Host food service workers at Honolulu, Kahului, and Lihue airports.

Watch tomorrow (Wed. 5/6), 5pm, on our Facebook page: http://facebook.com/uniteherehawaii.


Ige allows shopping malls, other businesses to reopen in ‘phase 1’ of restarting economy (Hawaii News Now, May 5, 2020)

Businesses allowed to reopen early Friday morning May 8th, include:

  • Shopping malls and retailers
  • Non-food agricultural companies, including florists
  • Astronomical observatories
  • Pet grooming services
  • Health care and social assistance, including elective surgery
  • Nonprofits that were previously not considered “essential”
  • Wholesale businesses

Businesses that must remain closed or partially closed still include: restaurant dine-in areas and shopping mall food courts, attractions and places of worship. It’s still unclear when “high-risk” activities, like sporting events or concerts will be allowed.

Recalling Hawaii workers presents challenge in unemployment policy (Star Advertiser, May 5, 2020)

The DLIR will have a difficult time dealing with appeals from workers who don’t want to give up larger unemployment payments to go back to work. The reopening of the Hawaii economy and the businesses that have taken the PPP loan are forcing many workers and the DLIR to confront this issue.

Processing appeals where employers try to cut off employee benefits for refusing work, workers with no childcare options, or workers who feel unsafe going back to work will be difficult and time consuming. The DLIR is building a new site so employers can tell DLIR which employees are getting paid again or refused work.

Hawaii tourism leaders urge state recovery plan (Star Advertiser, May 5, 2020)

Two visitor industry leaders, Jerry Gibson and Keith Viera, share some insight:

  • They want to reopen sooner if possible under new safety protocols—everything from extra cleaning to social distancing measures like conducting more online business, blocking out hotel rooms or floors to space out customers, and reconfiguring restaurants and other common areas.
  • They’re open to state-run inspections to ensure that the visitor industry is delivering on its safety brand promise.
  • Ideally, the travel quarantine would be lifted between May 31 and mid-June. Tourism would still start slow with hotels taking up to 60 days to reopen.
  • Hawaii’s visitor industry wants to see contact tracing and rapid passenger testing implemented here. The state should take the lead on implementation.
  • HTA, HVCB and HLTA have begun working with the industry to identify best safety practices and share them.
  • The industry would like the state to adopt a set of mandatory regulations. The state Department of Health could create some sort of evaluation system, at least for the first six months, similar to restaurant health inspections with graded placards.

Airline catering company Flying Foods permanently lays off more than 500 Honolulu employees (Pacific Business News, May 5, 2020)

This company issued their WARN notice with the effective lay-off date of April 17th.

Airbnb is laying off 25% of its employees (CNN, May 5, 2020)

The company is laying off 1,900 workers from its workforce of 7,500. It is scaling back its transportation, boutique hotel and luxury vacation rental projects. Its 2020 IPO is also likely to be put on hold. Notably, in the US, Airbnb said it will cover 12 months of health insurance for its employees through COBRA. In all other countries, it will cover health insurance costs through the end of this year.

United Airlines service workers’ union sues over schedule cuts after carrier got federal aid (CNBC, May 5, 2020)

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers representing 25,000 United Airlines workers sued the company for cutting people’s hours which is an alleged violation of the CARES Act loan it received since the loan was conditioned on no cuts or changes to wages or staffing level.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 3.66M (+80k).  Deaths: 257(+6k)

USA: Cases: 1.2M (+20k).  Deaths: 71k (+1.1k).  Total Tested: 7.5M (+300k)

Hawaii: Cases:  625 (+4).  Deaths: 17 (+0).  Hospitalized: 73 (+0). Recovered: 551(+3)