Inter-Island Travelers to Face Mandatory Quarantine, Hawai‘i Gets $4 Billion in Aid

March 30, 2020, 6:04 PM HST (Updated March 30, 2020, 6:04 PM)
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Governor David Ige. PC: State of Hawaii

Anyone in Hawai‘i who wants to island-hop during the month of April will have to pay with 14 days of mandatory quarantine — on top of the cost of airfare.

Gov. David Ige in a press conference Monday announced his intention to impose a mandatory, 14-day self-quarantine on all inter-island travelers. The emergency proclamation will go into effect Wednesday, April 1, at midnight and run through April 30.

“More must be done,” the governor said.

Those identified as “essential” workers will be allowed to travel for essential business operations. The state has adopted the same definitions of essential work as the federal government. A list of jobs and agencies included can be accessed by going online. Those with questions may also email the state at [email protected].

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Ige on Monday also signed an executive order to temporarily suspend several state laws so as to allow maneuverability when responding to COVID-19 consequences at state and county levels.

The circumnavigation will “allow out-of-state physicians and nurses to practice in Hawai‘i provided they are currently authorized to do so in another state,” Ige said.

Other directives aided by the governor’s decision will be expanded telehealth services, as well as expanded childcare services by “temporarily waving some administrative licensing rules. The Department of Labor and Industrial relations will also receive increased flexibility to pay the unemployed in a timely fashion, Ige said.

The economy was a central issue of the day, as the governor was joined at the press conference by US Rep. Ed Case as well as US Sen. Brian Schatz, who spoke via telephone from Washington DC.

Each man did his part to breakdown the $2.2 trillion CARES Act, the largest emergency relief bill in US history. Schatz announced earlier in the day that Hawai‘i was in line for at least $4 billion in overall federal aid.

That included:

  • $1.25 billion to help fund state and county government response efforts
  • $1.24 billion in estimated direct cash payments to Hawai‘i residents
  • $1.14 billion in estimated unemployment assistance
  • $130 million in estimated funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • $53 million to support local schools and colleges during the pandemic
  • $11 million for Hawai‘i’s community health centers
  • $8 million in Community Development Block Grants

On a national level, Case explained that $500 billion headed to large industries was designed to payout companies with the goal of keeping employees on the job.

“Whether you’re able to go to work or not, we want payrolls to continue across our country,” Case said.

Small businesses will also receive aid to the tune of $377 billion. This will include the traditional definition of small businesses — fewer than 500 employees — but it will also be expanded to include cab and Uber drivers, independent contractors, nonprofits and other entities.

Direct cash payments of $1,200 per person, $2,400 per couple and $500 per child under 17 will be eligible to all individuals earning less than $75,000 and couples with a joint income of under $150,000.

Beyond those income thresholds, payments decrease until they phase out at $100,000 and $200,000 for individuals and couples, respectively.

Max Dible
Max Dible is a reporter for Big Island Now. He will also serve in a news capacity for Pacific Media Group's Hawai‘i Island family of radio stations. He formerly worked as a community reporter for West Hawai‘i Today in Kailua-Kona from 2016 to 2019. Before that, he was a sports editor, sports reporter and radio talk show personality with the Iowa State Daily and KURE 88.5 FM, respectively, in Ames, Iowa. He's won several regional and national journalism awards, at both the collegiate and professional levels, for breaking news, long-form feature writing and his work as a sports columnist.
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