Hawaii Updates: How Bar Social Distancing Will Be Enforced; Library Expands Services; 1 New Case

Jun 8, 2020

Updated: 6/8/20, 1:02 p.m.

When bars are allowed to open on Oahu next week, the question on a lot of minds is how will social distancing be enforced when patrons get intoxicated?

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell acknowledged last week that it’s an issue officials grappled with as they reopen businesses, but they have a plan.

“Liquor inspectors who go to anywhere where liquor is sold to make sure they're not selling to minors and they're complying will also be making sure that good physical distancing is practiced," the mayor said.

"And if physical distancing is not being practiced appropriately, they could be brought before the Liquor Commission, and their liquor license could be suspended, or revoked -- things that no liquor store will ever want to happen.”

Bars can reopen on June 19 with safety measures in effect, such as limiting occupancy to 50% of allowable capacity; 6-foot distances between groups; and keeping groups to no larger than 10 individuals.

Tomorrow's Aloha Stadium food distribution will be last for now

The city will be sponsoring one more Hawaii Foodbank food drive-through tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the Aloha Stadium. 

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said last week that while the stadium distributions have fed 30,000 people twice a week, they have also caused traffic jams in the area. So the city has been working with the Hawaii Foodbank to evaluate if the food distributions can be taken into communities, such as Waimanalo, Hau‘ula and Waianae. 

Yesterday's Hawaii Updates: 2 New Cases; Peaceful Protest Draws Thousands; Beach Weddings Now Permitted Again

But he said when relief programs such as the Payroll Protection Program and unemployment insurance benefits run out, there will be demand for a larger food program again. He said the city is holding money in reserve from the federal CARES Act in case a resumption of the food distribution at the stadium becomes necessary.

State expands its Library Take Out program

The state's library branches remain closed, but over 600 patrons have taken advantage of the library systems' appointment schedule to pick up materials each day in the past week.

Borrowers can go to the library catalog to search for items to borrow, then can call a library branch to hold the items. Once they receive a notice that their materials are ready, they can schedule an appointment at the library branch on the notice for a pickup. 

The libraries are expanding the program to allow cardholders to pay fines and fees, get help with card accounts and receive walkup informational assistance. 

The Take Out program is not available at the Liliha, McCully and Pearl City branches, the library said in a news release. The library has also had to limit its popular Kanopy free movie subscription program. Patrons can watch up tothree movies per month, although Kanopy Kids is unlimited for 30 days.

Where we stand 

One new case of COVID-19 has been reported today by the state health department. The new case is on Oahu.

The new number of statewide cases is at 676. The number of deaths has remained at 17. The case count for Oahu is now at 442, Maui County at 120, Hawaii County at 81 and Kauai County at 21. Some 618 people have been released from isolation.  

The health department has warned that as the state reopens businesses and activities, there will be more new cases. Officials urged residents to continue taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including using face masks and practicing social distancing.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

Editor's note: We’d like to hear how you’re coping with the latest COVID-19 developments and the state's phased reopening. You can call our talkback line at 808-792-8217. Or e-mail us at talkback@hawaiipublicradio.org.