Individual COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program; Guidance Bulletin-May 8, 2020

Individual COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program

(May 8, 2020) HONOLULU – Today, the City and County of Honolulu announced an Individual COVID-19 Hardship Relief Program using money from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. This relief fund will begin with $25 million in CARES Act funds targeted to assist those hardest hit by unemployment or business interruptions due to COVID-19 related business closures. The relief fund is intended to assist with basic needs, such as rent, eligible utilities, childcare, and other essential expenses. The program is scheduled to launch on May 18.

“Here on Oʻahu, 134,360 of our residents have filed for unemployment. These are our family, our friends, our neighbors,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. “During these unprecedented times, we appreciate our partners working with us to respond to the needs of our community.”

A public-private partnership between the City and County of Honolulu, non-profit partners Aloha United Way, the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Helping Hands Hawaiʻi, and other service providers will work directly with individuals and families facing economic hardship to administer these resources and ensure our residents have the support they need.

“We stand ready to kōkua - this is the perfect time for our community to come together with non-profit providers, City leadership, and our families,” said Kūhiō Lewis, CEO of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement. 

Norm Baker, Interim President and CEO of Aloha United Way, added, “from our 211 (sic) calls at Aloha United Way, we hear every day what the need is, and the need is ramping up, so the dollars need to be there to support folks. It’s programs like this that are going to achieve that.”

The program will provide funding support to Oʻahu residents in amounts up to $1,000 per month for qualified household expenses and up to $500 per month for qualified childcare expenses to alleviate economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Each household may receive benefits as the hardship continues up to 6 months. Proper documentation will accompany an application to demonstrate hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Qualified expenses will be paid directly to the vendor on behalf of the applicant.

GUIDANCE BULLETIN

Emergency Order No. 2020-10 | Ho‘oulu i Honolulu

This interpretive guidance concerning Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s Emergency Order No. 2020-10 (as supplemented and extended) (“Order”) will be periodically updated.

Updates as of May 8, 2020

Short-term rentals

Short-term rentals (lodgings that provide guest accommodations for less than 30 days, other than hotels and motels), are not Essential Businesses or otherwise allowed to operate for purposes of the Order. As such, short-term rentals may not operate during the term of the Order, and they are not legally recognized places for visitors to lodge or self-quarantine. For purposes of the Order, “hotel” and “motel” are each defined as a building or group of buildings containing lodging and/or dwelling units offering transient accommodations, and a lobby, clerk's desk or counter with 24 hour clerk service, and facilities for registration and keeping of records relating to the hotel or motel guests. (04/09/2020)

Auto detailers, car washes, etc.

Auto detailers, car washes, and similar businesses are not Essential Businesses for purposes of the Order. (04/09/2020) However, please see guidance relating to automated service providers and mobile service providers below, which may allow for operation of such businesses under certain conditions and limitations. (Updated 05/08/2020)

Music schools/private lessons

Music schools, private music lesson providers, and similar businesses are not Essential Businesses for purposes of the Order. Such music schools and private music lesson providers may operate on a purely remote basis in which both instructors and students remain in their respective residences. However, please see guidance relating to educational services provided on a one-on-one basis that can be conducted in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements, which may allow for operation of such businesses/operations under certain conditions and limitations. (Updated 05/08/2020)

Religious gatherings

Under Order 3 of the Order, all public and private gatherings of any kind are prohibited during the term of the Order. This broad, facially neutral prohibition on gatherings includes secular and non-secular gatherings. (04/09/2020)

Retail fabric stores and stores selling face coverings

Pursuant to § II.F.27. of the Order, a business that is primarily engaged in selling fabric and related supplies, with a facility within the City and County of Honolulu, may continue to operate during the remainder of the Order, under the conditions and limitations specified in that section. However, retail stores that sell items such as scarves, ski masks, bandanas, etc. are still not “Essential Businesses” under the Order. However, effective May 15, 2020, fabric stores and other retail stores, along with repair service businesses, will fall under the category of Designated Businesses and Operations and be allowed to operate subject to the requirements and conditions imposed by the Order (Exhibit A). See “Retail and repair service businesses” discussed below. (Updated 05/08/2020)

Professional services

The provision of professional services, such as legal or accounting services, insurance services, and real estate services (including appraisals and title services) are generally exempted as Essential Businesses under the Order, only when “necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities.” Accordingly, to provide any professional service that would otherwise violate the Order (e.g., violate Order 1 to generally remain in one’s place of residence), the activity must be “legally mandated” or the specific business/operation must be listed in Exhibit A of the Order (listing Designated Businesses and Operations). An activity is “legally mandated” for purposes of the Order when it is required by law and cannot reasonably be accomplished remotely or postponed by agreement of the parties involved. (Updated 05/06/2020)

Essential Businesses – the “essential” offerings must be the primary business

With regards to the Essential Businesses exception to the Order, such exception only applies to the extent the business at issue is primarily engaged in sales or services considered “essential” under the Order. For example, a clothing store that incidentally sells some snacks near its checkout counter is primarily engaged in the retail sale of clothing (non-essential), and therefore does not qualify as an Essential Business (selling food) under section II.F.2 of the Order. However, such store may fall within the category of Designated Businesses and Operations, subject to the applicable conditions and requirements stated in Exhibit A of the Order. See “Retail and repair service businesses” discussed below. Similarly, a nail salon does not qualify as an Essential Business (selling “household consumer products”) under section II.F.2, or a Healthcare Operation (healthcare supplier) under section II.F.1, by incidentally selling hand sanitizer. (Updated 05/08/2020)

Automated service providers

Under the Order, service providers that do not require human interaction between the service provider and the customer may operate, including, but not limited to, fully automated car washes. These types of businesses must be staffed, if at all, by the absolute minimum number of employees necessary to maintain the business and sanitize the facility and frequently touched surfaces (such as payment terminals), without interaction between the service provider and the customer and while complying with Social Distancing Requirements (as defined in the Order). (05/08/2020)

Mobile service providers

The Order allows businesses that provide services on a mobile basis in which no human interaction between the service provider and the customer to operate within the City. This includes mobile businesses that provide pet grooming services, car washing/detailing services, and other similar businesses. However, such mobile businesses must implement sanitation measures consistent with CDC guidelines. This category does not include personal services, such as barbers, hair stylists, massage therapists, etc., which by definition require human interaction. (05/08/2020)

Educational services provided on a one-on-one basis that can be conducted in compliance with Social Distancing Requirements

The Order allows for the provision and receipt of educational services such as private tutoring, music lessons, etc., one a one-on-one basis (e.g., one teacher and one student) that are able to comply with Social Distancing Requirements at all times and implementing sanitation measures consistent with CDC guidelines - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019- ncov/community/disinfecting-buildingfacility.html. This category does not include personal services, such as barbers, hair stylists, massage therapists, etc., which are not “educational services” and cannot comply with Social Distancing Requirements at all times. (05/08/2020)

Retail and repair service businesses

Effective May 15, 2020, retail businesses (clothing stores, electronic stores, toy stores, etc.) may open and people may frequent them subject to the requirements and conditions set forth in the Order (Exhibit A). Among the requirements is the setting of maximum occupancy for the facility. Maximum occupancy for retail and repair service businesses is calculated by taking the total area open to customers (in square feet) and dividing it by 200. E.g., a facility that has 2,000 square feet of space open to the public, the maximum total capacity is 10 (employees and customers combined).

Prior to May 15, 2020, employees of retail and repair service businesses may travel to and from their respective business facilities in preparation for opening (on May 15, 2020 or after), to the minimum extent necessary, while adhering to Social Distancing Requirements (defined in the Order). See section II.H.3. of the Order (Minimum Basic Operations). (05/08/2020)

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