Hawaii – Coronavirus State Actions

Governors are working closely with federal and local officials as well as private sector partners to address the threat of the novel coronavirus. This page lists select actions through 31 July 2020. It is not intended to be exhaustive but is meant to highlight key actions and resources that may inform other states and territories as they prepare for and respond to the novel coronavirus. All state actions can be viewed here, or visit Coronavirus: What You Need To Know for additional information and resources.


Hawaii Department of Health coronavirus resource page.

  • March 17, 2020 – The Governor at a press conference issued the following new orders and guidelines:
    • Directing all bars and clubs to close. Restaurants should go to take-out only, and tour companies should limit or shut down operations immediately.
    • Asking tourists to stay away for at least 30 days.
    • Bolstering screening of cruise ship passengers, with temperature checks and questions about symptoms and recent travel. Airports would also be bolstering their procedures.
    • Stopping all non-essential state travel, including inter-island travel. Those who do have to travel will have to go into self-isolation for 14 days.
    • Directing all movie theaters, visitor attractions and places of worship to close.
    • Closing all state libraries, parks, events at the state capitol building, Aloha Stadium and Hawaii Convention Center.
  • March 19, 2020 – The Governor supported the decision of the Hawaii Department of Education to continue school closures in the state and provide alternative meals plans for students.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor announced the following measures to address the economic impacts of COVID-19:
    • Hawaii small businesses may now file for low-interest working capital loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (US SBA).
    • The US SBA approved the Governor’s certification request for access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Assistance Program for Hawaii small businesses.
    • Benefits will be paid to individuals who file their initial unemployment claims late.
    • The state will interpret Hawai‘i’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover those who are out of work because of COVID-19.
    • Allocating additional staff to support the influx to facilitate claims filing, processing, and benefits.
    • Making the adjustments necessary to loosen eligibility requirements for claimants and reduce or eliminate experience rate adjustments for employers because of employees who receive unemployment benefits because of COVID-19.
  • March 20, 2020 – The Governor and the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations announced the launch of the Reducing Unemployment Disruption & Driving Economic Regeneration (RUDDER) program. RUDDER is an economic regeneration initiative that provides State Employment & Training Funds that serve as the foundational strategy for aligning federal workforce programs, such as the Disaster Recovery grants, in a unified effort to train and transfer labor into Hawaii’s businesses that can help reduce job losses and dampen the economic slide.  
  • March 21, 2020 – The Governor issued a second supplemental emergency declaration ordering all individuals arriving or returning to the State of Hawaii to a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. The order states that any individual violating the quarantine may be fined up to 5,000 dollars or imprisoned up to one year, or both.  
  • March 22, 2020 – The Hawaii Department of Public Safety announced the following updates:  
    • Correctional facilities are implementing enhanced screening at entry points . 
    • All correctional facilities are expanding outside visitor suspensions to volunteers.  
    • Increased phone call duration, increased out of cell time, and increased access to stores/commissary for inmates. 
    • The Hawaii Paroling Authority is suspending all parole hearings for 2 weeks. 
  • March 23, 2020 – The Governor signed a third supplementary proclamation ordering the entire state to stay at home and work from home starting at 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, Mar. 25 through Apr. 30. Essential workers are exempt. Non-compliance would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $5,000, or up to one year in jail, or both.
  • March 24, 2020 – The Hawaii State Department of Education announced school facilities will remain closed to students through April 30.
  • March 24, 2020 – The Hawaii Department of Health waived routine TB clearance requirements for selected groups, the suspension will remain in effect through May 31, 2020. These groups include:
    • Annual clearance for healthcare workers
    • Annual clearance for patients in long-term care facilities
    • Food handlers
    • Children entering childcare, preschool or school (K-12th grade)
    • Post-secondary school students and employees
  • March 30, 2020 – The Governor announced a 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers in April.
  • April 3, 2020 – The Governor activated four units of the Hawaii National Guard to provide assistance to the Hawaii Emergency Management Operations Center, the State of Hawaii’s Joint Information Center, and support the receiving and distribution of medical supplies and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
  • April 8, 2020 – The Governor appointed Alan M. Oshima to lead Hawaii’s efforts to develop and implement a plan for economic and community stabilization, recovery and resiliency.
  • April 15, 2020 – The Governor has proposed 20% pay cuts for teachers and other public workers to help offset what is expected to be a reduction in the collection of state taxes.
  • April 17, 2020 – The Governor signed a fifth emergency supplementary proclamation which includes the following items:
    • Enhanced social distancing requirements
    • Eviction moratorium
    • The extension of the disaster emergency relief period to April 30, 2020
  • April 17, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order enabling the county liquor commissions to allow the sale of unopened beer or wine with food take out or delivery and gives the commissions flexibility to deal with deadlines or other administrative procedures.
  • April 17, 2020 – The Governor signed an executive order giving greater flexibility for healthcare systems to respond to the ongoing crisis including:
    • Defining the term “healthcare volunteer”
    • Defining “rendering assistance” to the state
    • Immunities for certain civil liabilities
  • April 26, 2020 – The Governor signed a 6th supplementary emergency proclamation extending the stay-at-home order across the state through May 31.
  • April 27, 2020 – The Governor announced that florists will be able to begin operations on May 1, as long as they can do so in a way that is safe for employees and customers.
  • April 29, 2020 – The Governor discussed early plans to reopen the economy as case numbers continue to decline. The governor identified that it would be gradual phased-in approach.
  • April 30, 2020 — The Hawai‘i Department of Health (DOH) is using a new digital tool to follow up with individuals who have had close contact with a person identified by DOH as having COVID-19.
  • May 1, 2020 — The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced that it distributed $87,521,534 in unemployment insurance benefits.
  • May 5, 2020 – The Governor announced that he is ready to issue a new emergency order that would allow for “low-contact retail” to resume operations while maintain social distancing guidelines.
  • May 5, 2020 – The Governor signed a 7th Supplementary Emergency Proclamation that authorizes the first group of businesses to re-open. The latest proclamation also allows residents to leave their homes to patronize certain businesses and activities under the new “Safer-at-Home” order. Under Phase 1 of the state’s re-opening, the following businesses and operations can re-open starting May 7, 2020 at 12:01 a.m.:
    • Agriculture (non-food), such as landscape, ornamental plant growers, and nurseries
    • Auto Dealerships
    • Car Washes
    • Childcare services, licensed or authorized under the law
    • Pet Grooming Services
    • Observatories & Support Facilities
    • Retail & Repair Services, such as apparel, florists, watch & surfboard repair (Note: retail does not re-open in City & County of Honolulu until May 15, and retail & most repair will not re-open in Maui county.)
    • Shopping malls – limited to retail and repair services (Note: shopping malls are not reopening in Maui county.)
  • May 5, 2020 – The Governor authorized shopping malls and a variety of retail businesses to reopen provided they minimize contact between employees and customers. However, he clarified that Maui and Oahu will not be reopening their malls and retail outlets.
  • May 8, 2020 — The Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) announced that it distributed $140,300,082 in unemployment insurance benefits.
  • May 12, 2020 – The Governor announced a new program to provide rental relief for Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) Applicant Waiting List beneficiaries will launch on May 11, 2020, in partnership with Aloha United Way (AUW). DHHL’s COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program will provide eligible beneficiaries with rental assistance using $7 million in Native Hawaiian Housing Block Grant (NHHBG) funds.
  • May 12, 2020 – The Governor said during a press conference that his office is exploring a plan to improve screening of non-residents arriving at Hawaii airports that may include photographing them.
  • May 12, 2020 – Lawmakers announced they plan to plug a projected $1 billion hole in the state budget for the upcoming fiscal year by using money from the rainy day fund, reducing vacancies in state bureaucracies and issuing bonds.
  • May 13, 2020 – The Governor’s office announced the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) is partnering with the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) to create a program to train personnel and community health workers to support DOH in conducting COVID-19 contact tracing.
  • May 16, 2020 – The Governor stated that he is considering extending the his stay at home order until the end of June.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor signed the 8th supplemental emergency proclamation, extending the 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the state, as well as for inter-island travelers through June 30. The governor also extended through June 30 the eviction moratorium that prevents evictions from residential dwellings for failure to pay rent.
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor further detailed his reopening plan. It includes:
    • Phase 1: Stabilization focusing on healing Hawai‘i by saving lives and flattening the curve in the community. Hawai‘i has transitioned through this phase by re-opening low-risk businesses in the last few weeks.
    • Phase 2: Re-opening Hawai‘i’s Kama‘āina Economy, where the state starts to re-open medium-risk businesses and activities, and later – re-opening high-risk businesses and activities.
    • Phase 3: Long-term recovery – where the state renews and rebuilds its economy through planning and policy discussions, incorporating transitional workforce modernization opportunities, supporting economic diversification initiatives, targeting the development of emerging industries, and advancing long-term resiliency planning. At this level, the state will focus on re-opening highest risk businesses and activities, while remaining cautious and adjusting Safe Practices as needed. This phase is expected to take much longer, since this phase covers the reshaping of Hawai‘i’s economy.
    • Phase 4:  Resilience
  • May 19, 2020 – The Governor approved the reopening of county beach parks island wide in the County of Hawaii with social distancing restrictions.
  • May 27, 2020 – The Governor approved the Mayor of O’ahu’s  proposal to safely re-open more businesses and operations on O‘ahu, under guidelines that will ensure the safety of employees and customers.
  • May 28, 2020 – The Governor announced that he would extend the state’s 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving in the state beyond June 30.
  • May 29, 2020 – The Governor signed Hawai‘i County’s Emergency Rule No. 7, submitted by Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim, allowing certain county parks and recreational facilities to re-open, with modifications.
  • June 1, 2020 – The Governor announced that the state will be lifting the 14-day quarantine requirement for inter-island travelers, effective June 16. The state Department of Transportation will require thermal screening at the airport for everyone traveling inter-island. HDOT will also require travelers to fill out a new form that will now also ask for health-related information to assist the state in tracking and responding to new COVID-19 cases.
  • June 8, 2020 – The Governor announced that the Division of State Parks is lessening restrictions and reopening park areas.
  • June 8, 2020 – The Hawai‘i Department of Health is disbursing a total of $30,000 to 23 skilled nursing facilities in the state for communications devices that will allow seniors at these facilities to stay in touch with their family and friends during the current pandemic.
  • June 10, 2020 – The Governor signed a ninth supplementary emergency proclamation that extends the COVID-19 emergency period through July 31. The emergency proclamation lifts the quarantine requirement for inter-island travelers effective 12:01 a.m. on June 16, 2020. However, it also leaves in place the quarantine requirement for out-of-state travelers.
    • June 10, 2020 – The Governor approved a request from Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami to safely re-open more businesses, operations or activities under guidelines that will ensure the health, safety and welfare of the people of Kauaʻi county, effective June 16, 2020.
    • June 10, 2020 – The Hawai’i Department of Health reinstated Tuberculosis (TB) clearance requirements for childcare, school, post-secondary institutions and for food handlers. Routine TB clearance requirements had been waived temporarily through May 31 to support COVID-19 social distancing and mitigation efforts.
  • June 24, 2020 – The Governor announced all travelers arriving in Hawai‘i from out-of-state will be required to get a valid COVID-19 test prior to their arrival, and to show proof of a negative test result, to avoid the 14-day quarantine. The pre-travel testing program begins Aug. 1.
  • June 24, 2020 – The Governor approved Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposal to allow singing and/or playing of wind instruments at indoor and outdoor restaurants/bars, with some restrictions.
  • July 6, 2020 – The Governor stated that cuts to for Hawaii public employees is inevitable if the state does not receive federal coronavirus relief funding.
  • July 7, 2020 — The Governor stated that the state will be hit with a nearly half-billion dollar loss in projected tax revenues when compared to the year $7 billion collected the year before. 
  • July 13, 2020 – The Governor announced he will delay the launch of the pre-travel testing program for incoming travelers to Hawai‘i. The program is now scheduled to begin on Sept. 1. This means all travelers entering the State of Hawai‘i will be subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine until Sept. 1, when the pre-travel testing program is scheduled to begin.
  • July 15, 2020 – The Attorney General joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general urging the US Senate to provide robust financial support for childcare providers in the next federal stimulus bill amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in a letter sent to the Senate.
  • July 17, 2020 – The Governor signed the 10th Emergency Proclamation, which keeps the mandatory 14-day quarantine in effect for travelers entering the State of Hawai‘i. Under the proclamation, travelers arriving in Hawai‘i will continue to undergo a mandatory screening process at the airport.
  • July 20, 2020 – The Governor confirmed the state’s plans to move ahead with school reopening for students on Tuesday, Aug. 4.
  • July 24, 2020 – The Governor announced that The State of Hawai‘i’s mandatory 14-day quarantine rule for travelers is being modified temporarily in consideration of the impacts of Tropical Cyclone Douglas.
  • July 29, 2020 – The Governor announced he will take action to “reinstate some of the measures we’ve relaxed over the last few weeks” in the fight against COVID-19 in Hawaii.