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Hawaii businesses suffer lost revenue and jobs

A new study says local business revenues fell by an average of 45% from 2019-2020.

Views expressed in this Hawaii State News summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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Locally Owned, Locally Committed Since 1955
2.3.2021
TOP STORIES
Survey finds Hawai‘i businesses reeling from lost revenue, cutting jobs
A new survey by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce Foundation found businesses do not expect to recover for at least another year. The survey also found that revenues fell an average of 45% from 2019 to 2020 and almost half of the 300 surveyed businesses cut jobs. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Saiki: UH not fit to manage mountain
The University of Hawai‘i’s director of Maunakea stewardship said the university will continue its process to renew the master lease for the mountain, which hosts several of the world’s premier astronomical observatories. In a brief floor speech before the House, Speaker Scott Saiki said the university “should no longer manage Maunakea, and it should cease its work to extend the master lease.” Tribune-HeraldHonolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat. Big Island Now. KITV4.

House leader lays out proposals for accountability, land and tourism
In a major policy speech on Tuesday, Hawai‘i House Speaker Scott Saiki called for several changes to state government, including an effort to consolidate watchdog agencies. He also pointed to tourism, calling to balance a safe, incremental reopening of tourism with a bill Rep. Nicole Lowen has introduced that would put a “green fee” or tax on hotels to pay for conservation efforts to offset the impact of tourism. Civil Beat.

Committee scraps proposal for rent control law
The measure, Senate Bill 52, would have prohibited landlords from raising rents more than 10% a year. The measure would also have banned landlords from increasing the rent on the same tenant more than two times in a single year. Civil Beat.

Bill would mandate disclosure of COVID-19 cases at Hawai‘i public schools
A bill that would require the Department of Education to publish a weekly report on schools that have COVID-19 cases among students and staff will get its first hearing today in the Senate. The department currently posts a weekly tally of such cases broken down by complex area but not by individual school. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Child advocacy groups hope to fill gaps in services and steep budget cuts
Hawai‘i Children’s Action Network’s top two priorities in 2021 are avoiding cuts to education and health and human services funding and creating support for working families.That means preserving preventative outreach to families, and childcare support as well as advocating for programs like paid family leave. Hawaii Public Radio.

State workers in limbo, unsure of when they’ll get a COVID-19 vaccine
Confusion and frustration lingers over Hawai‘i’s vaccine roll out as union leaders say state workers are upset with the lack of planning from the Ige administration. Hawaii News Now.

State lab detects more COVID-19 variants in Hawai‘i
To date, nine samples of the L452R variant have been identified and four specimens that exhibit a molecular clue associated with the UK B1.1.7 have been found. This indicates the B1.1.7 variant may be present in Hawai‘i. Big Island Now. Maui Now. Hawaii News Now. KITV4.

HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
E-Commerce is the Present and Future for Hawai‘i Retailers
Learn how to e-sell from these local entrepreneurs and how your website can drive sales at your brick-and-mortar. Many business owners interviewed for this story emphasized the importance of customer connection, authenticity and storytelling… read more.
OʻAHU
Governor pushes back against efforts to ease COVID restrictions on O‘ahu
Gov. David Ige said Tuesday he is unlikely to support any efforts to loosen O‘ahu’s tiered reopening system anytime soon. Hawaii News Now.

Years-long Kealoha mailbox case to come to an end as last 2 defendants are sentenced
Jesse Ebersole, a former Big Island firefighter, and retired Honolulu police officer Niall Silva are expected to get anywhere from probation to months of confinement. Hawaii News Now.

Landowner donates 300 acres of O‘ahu forestland for state natural area reserve
The state Department of Land and Natural Resources said the Pia Valley parcel in the southern Ko‘olaus, donated by landowner Patricia Godfrey, moves the land from private to public hands. It will be managed by DLNR’s Division of Forestry and Wildlife and is expected to be designated as the Pia Natural Area Reserve. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Hawaii News Now.

University of Hawai‘i drafts plan to host football games in Mānoa
The University of Hawai‘i is looking to add about 6,000 seats to its Mānoa practice football field to play games over the next three years if Aloha Stadium remains closed. Such expansion is part of a proposed retrofit for the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex that is estimated to cost $6 million and also include moving scoreboards from the stadium in Halawa. Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Judge removes private ruler of several Kaka‘ako roads
The decision by Circuit Judge Jeffrey Crabtree comes seven years after several business owners sued two brothers who began charging for parking and towing unauthorized parked cars along several Kaka‘ako streets in 2010 after decades of free public use. Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Civil Beat.

HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Voluntourism in Hawaiʻi

The opportunities for tourists to volunteer are growing along with the demand for those opportunities. From beach cleanups to cultural exchanges, forest conservation to farm stays, visitors are looking for experiences that are authentic… read more.

HAWAIʻI ISLAND
Lawyer sues county over Sunshine Law, seeks to stop Zendo Kern confirmation vote
A Hilo lawyer filed a lawsuit Tuesday seeking to stop the confirmation vote of Planning Director Zendo Kern, saying council members violated the state Sunshine Law during last month’s preliminary confirmation before the council Planning Committee. West Hawaii Today.

Charity tax write-off measure held for more work
A bill that would allow taxpayers who were socked with an extra luxury home tax last year to donate that tier 2 tax to charity instead was postponed for tweaks Tuesday, after drawing mixed reviews from the County Council Finance Committee. West Hawaii Today.

COVID-19 cluster identified at coffee farm in Kona
Out of about 100 employees, 18 workers were diagnosed with the coronavirus, Steve Bader, executive assistant from the Mayor’s Office, told Hawai‘i County Council’s Governmental Operations, Relations and Economic Development Committee yesterday morning. Big Island Now.

Additional Big Isle sites to get vaccinated
By Thursday, KTA Super Stores will offer the COVID-19 inoculations at its four Big Island pharmacies. Vaccines will be administered by appointment only for individuals 75 and older. Tribune-Herald.

Hilo Sears closing after 36 years in Hilo mall
Prince Kuhio Plaza might seek a new tenant after Sears, one of the mall’s oldest stores, closes later this year. The Hilo Sears location was among the original “anchor” stores for Prince Kuhio Plaza when it opened in 1985. Tribune-Herald.

HAWAII BUSINESS MAGAZINE
Using Big Data to Inform Small Business Decisions

The pandemic has forced all of us to go online more often, giving savvy small businesses more opportunities to better understand their customers, which products are most driving profitability, how to reach more customers and more. Learn from these data gurus and local businesspeople who constantly collect and crunch the numbers..read more.
MAUI COUNTY
Panel: Fast-track projects should be 75% affordable
The Maui County Council’s Affordable Housing Committee on Monday voted to recommend approval of a bill that would tighten affordable housing requirements for projects seeking fast-track approval under a state law. Maui News.

Maui County to receive $40 million for rent and utility assistance
Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced that the County will receive $40 million in federal funds to assist local households, earning 80 percent or below area median income, for relief from delinquent rent and utility bills. KITV4.

KAUAʻI
Virus variant found on Kaua‘i
The state Department of Health and private laboratories have detected a COVID-9 variant on three islands, including Kaua‘i. Four individuals carrying the L452R variant had a history of travel to or from the U.S. Mainland (three California, one Utah), including two returning residents. Garden Island.

Coastal path nominated as one of country’s best
During the last Līhu‘e Business Association virtual meeting, LBA President Pat Griffin announced that Kaua‘i Path Executive Director Tommy Noyes got a call from USA Today informing him Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the Eastside multi-use coastal route, has been nominated by USA Today as one of the nation’s 10 best recreational trails. Garden Island.

Ka Lae Kiki estate in Po‘ipū closes at $10.5 million
Kaua‘i Realtor Hannah Sirois recently closed on the Ka Lae Kiki estate on the Po‘ipū oceanfront for $10.5 million. Ka Lae Kiki estate became the highest single-family residential sale in Po‘ipū. Garden Island.

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