Wed. 5/13 Daily COVID-19 Update


We hosted a Facebook Live Town Hall today on the government’s response to COVID-19, how it’s been benefiting corporations and the rich, and what working people need to do to push back. You can watch the recording here in case you missed it.


Majority of hotels agree to “one time use” key system for quarantined visitors in Hawaii (KITV May 13 2020)

90% of the 89 hotels still open agree to give quarantined visitors a one-time use key in order to help enforce the quarantine rules.

Kaua’i County beaches to reopen Friday under specific guidelines (KITV, May 13, 2020)

2 week pilot program begins on Friday.  The main aspect of the rules allows parties of 10 or less on the each if they are in the same household.

Hawaii vacation rentals use loopholes to skirt quarantine (Star Advertiser, May 13, 2020)

At least 14% of visitors arriving during lockdown admitted they were using vacation rental units. This article talks about how vacation rentals and the difficulty of enforcing the laws governing their use are problem, especially since all vacation rental units are considered non-essential and shouldn’t be operating at all right now.

Congressman Calls For Testing Hawaii-Bound Travelers (Civil Beat, May 13, 2020)

Ed Case wants the FAA to change rules to allow testing of visitors and crews before boarding an airplane to Hawaii.  It calls for fever testing and “as available”, rapid on-site COVID testing.  The costs would be borne by airlines according to his letter to the FAA.

Trimmed Budget Ready For Final Senate Vote (Civil Beat, May 13, 2020)

The legislature seems set to cut a $1 billion hole in the state budget. The bulk of the revised budget cuts comes from leaving vacant positions open, excluding nearly half a billion in Gov. Ige’s supplemental budget request, and tapping into rainy day funds and federal funding. Worker furloughs or pay cuts are not proposed. See article for links to the bill language.

Pandemic Forces Honolulu Council To Slash Budget (Civil Beat, May 13, 2020)

The city cut $130 million from its proposed $3 billion budget. The bulk of the cuts are from TheBus and HandiVan, vacant positions and rail’s HART operating budget. Honolulu will get about $387 million in funds from the CARES Act to help offset costs, of which $100 million are dedicated to help small businesses and another 30% to first responders.

Culinary Union planning ‘transparency’ car caravan on Las Vegas Strip tomorrow (Las Vegas Sun, May 13, 2020)

Local 226, a UNITE HERE local in Las Vegas, holds a car caravan rally to demand public release of Las Vegas hotels’ reopening plan and also demands more safety measures to protect workers who go back to work.

MGM Resorts released a 19-page, 7-point plan that you can view here. It provides details on major issues like: screening, PPE, distancing, sanitation, HVAC control and incidence control.

Paul Manafort Just Got Out of Prison Years Early Because of Coronavirus (Vice, May 13, 2020)

Manafort was Trump’s campaign manager who was convicted of bank fraud and plead guilty to defrauding the US and witness tampering. He is now under house arrest.

Employers can let workers change health plans without waiting (Pacific Business news, May 13, 2020)

The Internal Revenue Service on Tuesday made it easier for employers to allow workers to make adjustments to their health insurance plans and flexible spending accounts in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Employers can let their workers drop out of their health insurance if they have another option, or sign up if they failed to earlier in the year.

Workers could also be allowed to add more family members to their plan or switch from one workplace plan to another.

The change doesn’t require employers to offer these options; they must opt in if they want to give their employees the added flexibility. The changes could make it easier for workers who are furloughed to drop benefits temporarily and resume them when they return to work. They may also be attractive to workers who decided against buying health insurance earlier in the year but feel different now that they are worried about their risk of catching the coronavirus.

COVID Cases Today

World: Cases: 4.3M (+100k).  Deaths: 297k(+6k).
USA: Cases: 1.39M (+20k).  Deaths: 84.1k (+1.8k).  Total Tested: 9.9M (+300k).
Hawaii: Cases:  638 (+3).  Deaths: 17 (+0).  Hospitalized: 81 (+0). Recovered: 563 (+0).