HONOLULU – Gov. Neil Abercrombie and state directors today provided the following updates and recommendations for Hawaii residents and visitors at a joint news conference with the Federal Emergency Management Agency:
“All levels of government are working together,” Gov. Abercrombie said. “We all need to stay alert, pay attention, and work with the emergency management agencies across the state. Our emergency personnel are well-trained and prepared. I would also like to thank members of the news media for their cooperation in getting the word out in the interest of public safety.”
Lt. Governor Shan Tsutsui is in Maui working with Mayor Alan Arakawa to keep abreast of the situation there. “I’ve been in close contact with the Governor and we are all working together to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone in the State of Hawaii. I’d like to commend Mayor Arakawa and the county departments for doing a great job in coordinating their efforts with the State,” he said.
“Public schools and Department of Education offices statewide will be closed tomorrow,” said Schools Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi. “I want to commend and thank all of our employees, especially our Complex Area Superintendents and principals who have stepped up during this time of uncertainty.”
Department of Human Resources Development Director Barbara Krieg said all state offices will be closed on Friday and anticipate reopening on Monday: “State employees, other than designated emergency response or critical services workers, should not report to work on Friday.”
Ford Fuchigami, interim director for the Department of Transportation, said that all airports are remaining open at this time and travelers are advised to go to the airport only at the appropriate time for their flight departure. Travelers should contact their airlines for updates on flight schedules.
Bruce Kim, executive director for the state Office of Consumer Protection, announced there is a price freeze on all commodities and any reports of alleged price gouging will be investigated and, if substantiated, will be prosecuted to the fullest extent. The public is advised to report suspected acts of price gouging to (808) 587-4272.
Hawaii Tourism Authority President Mike McCarthy reminded the public that hotels are prepared to implement their emergency plans and guests are advised to remain at their accommodations.
Attorney General David Louie announced that state elections will proceed on Saturday as planned, although some polling places may change. Current weather forecasts do not indicate that voting will be adversely affected, but officials are watching the storm closely. Further decisions will be based on the recommendations of the Office of Elections, county clerks, and the Attorney General.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA), formerly State Civil Defense, has activated the State Joint Information Center (JIC) to respond to media requests and provide the public with the latest information through various social media platforms and websites. Media requests can be made to email@example.com and (808) 733-4300.