Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Cancellations Pile Up Across Hawai‘i

March 16, 2020, 8:47 AM HST
* Updated March 16, 4:38 PM
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The following is a list of additional closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to check out the initial list published on Big Island Now.

Announced closures are the following:

1) Donkey Mill Art Center will be closed to the public and suspending all programs through March 31 in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. The closure is effective Monday, March 16.

During this closure, staff will be available to answer any questions via telephone or email. Please contact them at [email protected] for any general inquiries or special requests to pick up artwork.

“Ours is a resilient, committed community with strongly-knitted ties among staff, volunteers, teaching artists, Board, community partners, founders and many members. The Donkey Mill hopes to continue to serve as a source of connection to navigate these changing times,” expressed Executive Director, Maja Clark.

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Visit their social media pages over the weeks to come and sign-up for their bi-weekly newsletter at donkeymillartcenter.org.

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2) The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa is suspending its spring student admission events in response to the COVID-19 health crisis, including the annual Mānoa Experience scheduled for April 4.

The campus open house event, held each spring, averages more than 2,000 people. The UH 10-campus system announced on Thursday, March 12, that large, university-sponsored public events would be postponed or canceled, one the actions UH has taken in response COVID-19.

The affected events include:

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Mānoa Experience:  April 4—UH Mānoa campus

  • Admitted Student Receptions:
  • March 22—Merrimanʻs Waimea; Waimea, Hawaiʻi
  • March 29—Kaua’i Marriott Resort; Līhuʻe, Kauaʻi
  • March 29—King Kamehameha Golf Club; Wailuku, Maui
  • April 14— Hawaiʻi Prince Hotel Waikiki
  • April 22—Hawaiʻi Prince Hotel Waikiki

Mānoa Scholar-to-Scholar Day: April 17— UH Mānoa campus

Scholarship Brunch: April 18— Waikīkī Beach Marriott

“We are disappointed that circumstances have led to this decision,” said UH Mānoa Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Roxie Shabazz. “We are incredibly sorry for this inconvenience, as our faculty, staff and community partners were looking forward to connecting with members of the community.”

The UH Mānoa admissions office will begin offering accepted student webinars the week of March 30. The webinars will cover all the topics and information normally presented at the in-person receptions and provide an opportunity for accepted students and their parents to ask questions. More information will be provided via email to those who registered for one the receptions and can be found on the UH Mānoa Admissions website. http://manoa.hawaii.edu/admissions .

A meet-and-greet event on campus is being planned during the UH Mānoa Week of Welcome before the first day of fall semester. More information will be provided over the summer as the details are finalized.

The UH Mānoa Office of Admissions is still conducting campus tours and informational sessions as scheduled, however, cannot accommodate group tour requests. Anyone who is interested in attending UH Mānoa is encouraged to visit the website: manoa.hawaii.edu/admissions/visit.

3) HIPLAN reported that April’s Entrepreneur Meetups in Hilo and Kona scheduled for April 1 and April 2 are canceled due to COVID-19 precautions. HIPLAN will restart Meetups as soon as the all-clear is announced. Check-in to www.HIplan.biz or Facebook/HIplan808 or Instagram/hiplan808 or Twitter/hiplan808 for updates.

4) Kamehameha Schools has decided to cancel the 20th birthday tribute to Kauikeaouli scheduled for March 17 to March 21 at Keauhou Bay due to concerns surrounding COVID-19.

Kauikeaouli would become Kamehameha III and he was born at Keauhou Bay.  This year’s event would’ve been the 20th annual tribute.

“It is with deep regret that we take this action to cancel an event honoring Kauikeaouli’s foresight and wisdom and the role he played in supporting education and working to lift all of Hawai‘i,” said KS West Hawai‘i Regional Director Kaimana Barcarse. “We are closely following the evolving public health situation and monitoring guidance from state and federal health officials. We appreciate the support of the community and our partners.”

Canceled are:

  • The ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, March 17, at Kauikeaouli’s birthplace at Keauhou Bay organized by the Daughters of Hawai‘i.
  • A community panel discussion slated for Friday, March 20, at the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.
  • A free ‘Aha Mele (concert) scheduled for Saturday, March 21, on the Hawai‘i Lawn of the Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay.

“The health and safety of Hawai‘i’s residents is a priority for Kamehameha Schools. This includes taking measures to avoid unnecessary risks to ensure the well-being of our partners, employees and community at-large,” Barcarse said. “We do not take this action lightly as we acknowledge the hard work that has gone into this event. We look forward to gathering with the community to celebrate our ali‘i next year.”

5) The Hawai‘i State Public Library System, out of an abundance of caution and in the interest of everyone’s health and safety, will implement a few changes to library service beginning March 16, 2020, through the rest of the month:

  • All programs and events will be canceled at all 51 locations.
  • All external meetings scheduled in Library meeting rooms will be cancelled or rescheduled.
  • Bookmobile Services will be suspended.
  • To reduce exposure, HSPLS is following best sanitation practices for workplaces, as well as pulling toys and other difficult-to-sanitize items from public areas.
  • Patrons will have two automatic renewals on library items that are eligible for renewal. Please visit our website for more information.
  • Donations from the public will not be accepted at any location.

HSPLS encourages everyone to check out HSPLS’ many digital resources, including e-books and e-audiobooks, online classes, and digital subscriptions to newspapers and magazines, which are available 24/7 via our website www.librarieshawaii.org.

6) The Kamuela Philharmonic Orchestra will cancel its “Literature Comes to Life” concert on Sunday, March 22, at Kahilu Theatre. The Philharmonic is exploring the possibility of a makeup date for the concert and will make an announcement if the concert is rescheduled.

Ticketholders to “Literature Comes to Life” may receive a full refund for the value of the ticket, or they may donate their tickets back to the Philharmonic by calling the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at 808-885-6868, or by visiting Kahilu Theatre Box Office in person at 67-1186 Lindsey Road, Kamuela, HI 96743, Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 PM.

7) The Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS) on Hawaiʻi Island suspended operations starting Sunday, March 15 in response to the COVID-19 situation.

The move is being made as a health and safety measure as many other operations around the state and the world are conducting similar closures.

The parking lot will remain open as well as the portable toilets there. While the mountain remains open to the public, officials encourage everyone to follow health department recommendations on social distancing and protection.

VIS administrators will continue to meet and discuss the latest developments to determine when they should reopen and resume operations.

8) Big Island symposiums on Rapid Ohia Death, set for Hilo on March 21 and Kona on March 28, will not be held.

9) Sea Life Park Hawai‘i has made the decision to temporarily suspend public operations effective March 17, 2020, to help our communities stay safe.

During this time, the Park’s animal care team will continue to look after the health and nutritional needs of the animals in its care. The park will also carefully monitor the situation and the updates from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department of Health, as well as additional government agencies and health care providers.

10) Hawaiian Electric will be closing its walk-in payment centers on Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi Island and Maui County in order to minimize risk related to COVID-19 for customers and employees. The company will assess next week whether the payment centers will reopen on March 30.

Customers are encouraged to:

  • Mail in payment
  • Use or sign up for online bill payment
  • Use Speedpay®, an authorized payment service provider that allows you to pay-by-
    phone or online (convenience fee will apply)
  • Visit Western Union payment locations throughout our five-island service territory if
    payment must be made in person

For more information, visit www.hawaiianelectric.com/customer-service/customer-and-payment-
centers.

Hawaiian Electric understands that COVID-19 has created financial hardship for some
customers. These customers are urged to call our representatives at the numbers listed below
to discuss options available to keep their accounts current:

  • Hilo (808) 969-6999
  • Kona (808) 329-3584
  • Waimea (808) 885-4605

11) Regal Cinemas will close all its theater locations in Hawai‘i starting Tuesday, March 17.

12) Hawai‘i Island Humane Society, in light of recent recommendations from the State Department of Health regarding coronavirus and exercising an abundance of caution, has decided to cancel the 24th annual Tropical Paws fundraiser slated for later this month at the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai.

“For the last 23 years, Tropical Paws has helped our organization generate lifesaving revenue, approximately 10% of Hawaii Island Humane Society’s annual funding,” said HIHS Chief Executive Officer Dr. Beth Jose. “We will be initiating an online auction shortly and inviting the community to help us fill the financial gap and maintain needed services on Hawai‘i Island. The online auction will directly benefit animals that arrive at our three island-wide shelters in Kea‘au, Waimea and Kona.”

Hawai‘i Island Humane Society supporters who have pre-purchased Tropical Paws tickets are being contacted regarding refunds or converting the ticket transaction into a fully tax-deductible donation. HIHS is also still accepting auction donations. Contact Community Programs Director Lauren Nickerson at 808-334-3361 for additional information.

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