News & Announcements

September 22 Resource Roundup Highlights

Posted Tuesday, September 22, 2020 3:00 pm

COVID-19 LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS

  • State Travel News
    • Pre-Travel Testing Program to Start October 15: Governor Ige announced the pre-travel testing program will start October 15. Travelers entering the State must either quarantine for 14 days or produce evidence of a negative result from an approved COVID-19 test no earlier than 72-hours prior to arrival in Hawaii.
    • Travel Exemptions Now Web-Based: The State announced the development of a new web-based form to make the quarantine exemption process more efficient. Previously, those seeking exemptions, such as critical medical or infrastructure workers, had to make the request via email.
       
  • Business Opportunities
    • Want Free Interns? The Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism ("DBEDT"), together with Economic Development Alliance of Hawaii ("EDAH") and Kupu, created a workforce development initiative to match displaced workers with internships at companies in emerging industries and sustainability fields. Companies interested in hosting and training participants can learn more and apply for the innovation track ("Aloha Connects Innovation") through EDAH's website at edahawaii.org and the conservation track through Kupu's website at kupuhawaii.org/ainacorps.
    • $10 million in Innovation Grants for PPE Supply Chain: This Program provides grants to small businesses in Hawaii to help establish a local supply chain of cleaning supplies and personal protective equipment. Online applications are being accepted now through HTDC's website at www.htdc.org, and are due by October 26.
       
  • DLIR Update
    • LWA Program: The Department of Labor & Industrial Relations ("DLIR") announced it has processed about 135,000 self-certifications for the $300 plus-up from the Lost Wages Program, but tens of thousands of more claimants are eligible and should login to the portal to receive the additional benefit, which is now available for six weeks, starting with the week ending August 1, 2020.
    • Unemployment Rate: The DLIR also announced that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August was 12.5% compared to the revised rate of 13.5% in July. Nationally, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 8.4% in August, down from 10.2% in July.
    • Perreira-Eustaquio Appointed to Lead DLIR: Governor Ige appointed Anne E. Perreira-Eustaquio as director of the DLIR. Perreira-Eustaquio was the department's deputy director and has been serving as DLIR's acting director since last month. The governor also appointed JoAnn A. Vidinhar as DLIR's deputy director.
       
  • Department of Health
    • COVID-19 helpline for Micronesian Communities: The We Are Oceania helpline is available for Micronesians who do not speak English and may have questions about COVID-19 symptoms, testing, quarantine, health insurance, housing, unemployment, and other related questions. For COVID-19 questions, the WAO helpline is available every day between 8 am and 10 pm. For questions about health insurance, housing, or unemployment, the WAO helpline is available Monday through Friday between 8:30 am and 4 pm. Share the WAO helpline: (808) 913-1364.
    • Kaiser Chief of Infectious Disease Shares Insight: Dr. Tarquin Collis, with Kaiser Permanente Hawaii, shares insight and answers tough questions on COVID-19.
       
  • Oahu:
    • Reopening Plans for Sept. 24: Mayor Caldwell just announced plans for some businesses to reopen under a new emergency order to go into effect on Thursday. The Mayor outlined "Honolulu's COVID-19 Recovery Framework," setting out which establishments can reopen in four described tiers based on the number of daily cases and positivity rate.
    • Small Business Recovery Fund: Mayor Caldwell announced an expansion of the City's Small Business and Recovery Fund, which reimburses small businesses for costs incurred from business interruption and implementing safety precautions related to COVID-19. Businesses that previously received grants can reapply for up to $20,000, less the amount preciously received (i.e., if received only $8,000 previously, can apply for $12,000). Businesses with up to $2 million in revenue a year can apply now. Businesses with $2 million to $5 million in annual revenue can apply starting October 1.
       
  • Hawaii County: Mayor Kim announced the extension of Emergency Rule No. 11 (which limits social gatherings and continues the self-quarantine requirements for all travel to Hawaii Island) through September 30.

COVID-19 FEDERAL GOVERNMENT NEWS

  • I-9 Flexibilities for Remote Workers Extended Again: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced another extension of the flexibilities in rules related to Form I-9 compliance. Since March 19, 2020, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has not been enforcing the physical presence requirements associated with the Employment Eligibility Verification (Form I-9) for remote workers. The policy now expires on November 19.
     
  • USCIS Flexibilities Again Extended for Responding to Requests: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") is extending the flexibilities announced on March 30, to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to certain requests, notices, or decisions with issuance dates between March 1, 2020 and January 1, 2021. USCIS will consider a response received within 60 calendar days after the response due date set in the request or notice, and will consider a Form N-336 or Form I-290B received up to 60 calendar days from the date of the decision.
     
  • NLRB Issues Summaries of COVID-19-Related Cases: The NLRB General Counsel issued Memorandum GC 20-14, to help employers understand his office's approach to COVID-19-related issues. The memo summarizes nine cases in which his office recommended that a complaint be issued against employers, including for:
    • Firing a food delivery employee who led a workplace protest over lack of hand sanitizer, PPE, and enforcement of social distancing guidelines;
    • Disciplining a casino union employee for being uncooperative when questioned about wearing a mask in front of guests after the employee requested and was denied a union representative in violation of Weingarten rights;
    • Refusing to call back union employees known to be union supporters while calling back employees who don't support the union;
    • Refusing to bargain over a successor agreement, including over teleconference;
    • Refusing to bargain over pandemic-related changes to benefits; and
    • Refusing to provide information concerning a COVID-19-related layoff.

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