June 30, 2020

Hawksbill Turtle haunts Hanalei

Underwater videographer Terry Lilley said he had a recent surprising encounter in Hanalei Bay while diving to check out reef health at a place known as “the bowl.” He was joined by a young hawksbill turtle, he said “only the fifth one I have ever seen on Kaua‘i after 20 years of diving here.” Hawksbill turtles are endangered and protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. They are smaller than green sea turtles, and have a unique beak and a beautiful shell. According to the Maui Ocean Center, the majority of the hawksbills in the state live near Hawai‘i Island, and a few live on Maui and Moloka‘i. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says they monitor 20 to 25 females who nest annually on Hawai‘i Island. NOAA Fisheries says hawksbill turtles can be found throughout the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, but loss of reef habitat has affected population numbers. Hunting has also led to the ESA listing of the species. Lilley was thrilled to see the endangered turtle at Hanalei Bay, but said he was just as excited to see “hundreds of new antler corals” near the bowl. “Some were already 15 inches tall, and these corals have made a whole new habitat for marine life,” Lilley said. “These corals are so important, as they grow up to three foot tall and are what make the wave hollow at the bowl.” Signs of healthy coral are being seen all over the island, according to citizen divers and reports from the state’s aquatic team, which has been doing underwater monitoring in ‘Anini Bay and has observed signs of recovery since coral disease was recorded in September 2019.

Posted in Lifestyle
June 25, 2020

As of August 1st, a pre-testing program will allow Hawaii travelers to avoid quarantine

Starting Aug. 1st, travelers who test negative for coronavirus no more than 72 hours before arriving in Hawaii will be able to avoid the state’s mandatory quarantine. Gov. David Ige said the pre-testing plan will allow the tourism industry to reopen without a significant spike in new COVID-19 cases in Hawaii. “We recognize that there are many concerns that continue,” Ige said. “We believe this process of pre-testing does allow us to bring travelers back to Hawaii in a way that maintains a priority on the health and safety of our community.” Ige and other administration officials have pointed to a similar model being used in Alaska as proof that a pre-testing requirement can work. Alaska also provides testing upon landing, but Ige said that wasn’t practical for the islands. Mayor Kirk Caldwell acknowledged trepidation at the prospect of reopening tourism, especially given a worrisome surge of coronavirus cases in some parts of the mainland. But he said the safeguards in place, including contact tracing and widespread testing, will allow Hawaii to “live with the virus.” “We need to return to welcoming visitors to our shores,” Caldwell said. “For the state of Hawaii, we have approximately 240,000 unemployed people. We’re not going to see a return to a level of employment that we had before unless we open up to visitors.”
Pre-test part of multi-layered system
Lt. Gov. Josh Green, who helped develop the plan with the help of the health care professionals and business leaders, said it’s not a silver bullet but part of a “multi-layered system.”That system also includes a travel form, health screening questions, and a temperature check. He added that Hawaii is working with CVS and others to stand up a system to access traveler testing results to ensure they’re legitimate, but the details are still being hammered out. At the news conference, House Speaker Scott Saiki also said lawmakers have set aside $90 million for thermal screening machines at airports, a web-based traveler information system and supplies.

Posted in Lifestyle
June 15, 2020

Rice Street Business Association Tuesday Night Live Music 6/16

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June 10, 2020

Mandatory Out of State Quarantine Extended Through July 31

Out of state visitors will have to wait until at least August, as Hawaii has extended its mandatory 14-day quarantine through the end of July. The news has been greeted with mix results, as expected. The absence of tourism is very good for the overall health of the islands, but also very difficult for those who work in tourism. Some business leaders have been frustrated by the lack of a clear plan about when tourism will open - you can’t plan without a plan. But for now, the State appears content operating on a month-by-month basis, which, to be fair, also makes sense given the uncertain nature of things.
Hawaii’s government said that “safe routes” are being considered as a potential option upon reopening. That is, that tourism could restart in stages, with only specific “safe routes” being able to fly to the islands - for example, places such as New Zealand, which has reported zero cases. “The trouble for us is the novel coronavirus is spreading around the world, and we’re at different stages within the U.S. and around the world,” Ige said. Indeed, the coronavirus remains a moving target, and even “safe routes” could quickly become “unsafe routes” in the blink of an eye if new cases emerge. For now, cancel any travel plans you may have been envisioning for July, and keep an eye out to see what August might bring.

 

Posted in Lifestyle
June 5, 2020

Hawaii Interisland Travel Will Resume on June 16

There’s good news for residents and anyone already held up in Hawaii, though. General travel between the islands will resume Tuesday June 16th, but it comes with a few regulations. People flying between islands will have to submit to a temperature check, which will be conducted using new thermal screening systems and facial recognition software (which are currently being installed at airports). Anyone with a fever of more than 100.4 degrees will not be allowed to fly. Passengers arriving between islands will not have to abide by the 14-day quarantine, which is a change from past policies and really the biggest factor (most people would not travel to another island from their own if they had to quarantine when they get there and then quarantine when they get back). Still, at this time, leisure travel is discouraged. The main point is to allow residents to reconnect with family on other islands. Officials also see this as a way to test their new thermal screening systems in preparation for the grand reopening, whenever that may be. “Interisland [travel] allows us to test our system and make sure it is safe,” Governor Ige said.

Posted in Lifestyle
June 1, 2020

Kauai Athletic Club Re-Opening June 1st

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May 21, 2020

Feds give green light to test tourists prior to arrival in Hawaii


Local representatives worked with the White House for weeks seeking clarification on whether Hawaii could require COVID-19 testing for all visitors before arrival, and found out on Wednesday that nothing in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) or the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT) regulations that prohibits the state from requiring such testing. “This is the breakthrough we have been waiting for," said Rep. Ward. "It signals to the Governor and the Legislature that they can now act to safely and systematically open our visitor industry." "While testing visitors before arrival is not fail-safe, it is the best bet we have for protecting our flight attendants, airline crew, hotel workers, visitors, and locals alike." However, a passenger can not be refused entry onto a plane without a test. Instead, the passenger would knowingly be under a 14-day mandatory quarantine and tested upon arrival. "The priority of our plan is to protect our local residents while also allowing them to safely provide for their families. We have a moral and civic duty to do this," said Rep. Bob McDermott (R-40 Ewa, Ewa Villages, Ewa by Gentry, Iroquois Point), a member of the House Select Committee on COVID-19. "Now that the FAA and DOT have cleared the way, the sky's the limit." Both representatives Ward and McDermott released a publication this week to the House Select Committee on COVID-19 entitled "Making Hawaii Safe for Travel." It outlines the full COVID-19 testing procedures, its logic, and practical applications to restart Hawaii's visitor industry without creating a second wave. “Bottom line: Today is great news for Hawaii. It shows we’re on the right track to reopen our economy safely and in the best interest of our communities," they concluded.

Posted in Lifestyle
May 14, 2020

COVID-19 | Update: Kauai County to allow sunbathing on beaches

Kauai County Mayor Derek Kawakami said that beaches will reopen Friday, May 15. This will be a two-week pilot program under Mayor’s Emergency Rule 8, which was approved by Governor David Ige. Rule 8 allows people to utilize the beach under certain  restrictions designed to minimize the spread of COVID-19. Mayor Kawakami also signed Emergency Rule 9, which will extend the mandatory quarantine for incoming travelers through the month of June. Those traveling for health care purposes, as long as they wear appropriate protective gear and keep social distance, are exempt from the quarantine. Those traveling to perform critical infrastructure work, as identified in the Governor’s proclamation, are still subject to the quarantine but are allowed to break quarantine only to perform those essential work functions. “We have taken temporary control over the coronavirus with our aggressive restrictions, and we feel we can begin to ease them in a responsible manner,” said Mayor Kawakami. “That said, the risk of the virus returning is most clearly associated with incoming travelers, whether residents or visitors, so we feel it is necessary to extend the mandatory quarantine.”
Emergency Rule 8 allows more casual beach use with the following limitations:
- Every group should be a part of the same household and should not exceed 10 people
- Everyone on the beach who aren’t a part of the same household will have to social distance, with the exception of caregivers escorting a dependent
- Beaches or sand area may only be used a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset unless a person is engaged in shoreline fishing or permitted outdoor exercise; and
- All other restrictions found in the governors Safer at Home order must be followed, such as quarantine restrictions

“In order for us to continue to reopen our businesses and activities while keeping each other safe, we all must exercise self-discipline to follow CDC guidelines of social distancing, wearing masks, washing hands and cleaning surfaces often,” urged Mayor Kawakami. As a reminder, all individuals in the State of Hawaii are subject to Governor Ige’s emergency proclamations and Safer at Home order. Governor Ige is in favor of Mayor Kawakami’s order, and is in favor of giving Hawaii’s county mayors authority with his approval. “I do personally support that and we continue to work with the mayors to identify the conditions they see in their counties and allow them to make adjustments as appropriate.” Governor Ige said. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell has a similar plan in the works, pending approval from health experts. “We learned this afternoon about Kauai’s plan to initiate a pilot program to open beaches to people from a single-family unit, and that the Governor approved such a plan. We are interested in looking into a similar initiative on Oahu. We plan to run it by our medical panel tomorrow afternoon because making sure the health and safety of the public is taken into account is paramount. If the panel agrees this plan is safe for Oahu, we will then seek the approval of the governor to implement this plan on a pilot basis.” Mayor Caldwell said. To view the governor's proclamations and the Mayor’s emergency rules, visit the KEMA website, www.kauai.gov/COVID-19.

Posted in Lifestyle
May 8, 2020

Mother's Day Free Breakfast Pickup 5/9

Kauai police will once again join New Hope Līhue to serve free breakfast meals.

Volunteers will be distributing 600 meals on a first come, first served basis.

Come grab some yummy food from 9 to 9:30am at Puakea Golf Course. 
They got something special for Moms too in celebration of Mother’s Day (for the first 100 cars). 

 

Posted in Lifestyle
April 29, 2020

COVID-19 | Food Resources

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