State and Region briefs for March 25

Honolulu suspends homeless sweeps amid virus crisis

HONOLULU — Honolulu suspended its sweeps of homeless people Sunday in response to guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said city spokesman Alexander Zannes.

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The agency recommends authorities not clear homeless people unless housing units are available for them.

The CDC suggests people sleeping outside set up tents with at least 12-feet-by-12-feet of space per person and that nearby restrooms have functional water taps, soap and toilet paper. It recommends officials provide portable latrines and hand-washing facilities for encampments of more than 10 people.

Passengers continue to disembark from cruise ship

HONOLULU — Passengers of a cruise ship in Honolulu that was rejected by other ports continued to disembark Tuesday.

The Norwegian Jewel remained docked at Honolulu Harbor as its 2,000 passengers disembarked for buses that will take them to chartered flights at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport.

The last flight was anticipated to depart Tuesday night, said Tim Sakahara, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation.

“Coordinating the movement of 2,000 passengers from around the world requires tremendous logistics and involvement from federal, state and private agencies and we appreciate the support from everyone working to make it happen successfully,” Sakahara said in an email.

State officials initially said cruise ship passengers would be allowed to disembark and then changed their minds and said the ship could only refuel and resupply in Honolulu. As the Norwegian Cruise Line ship, which needs repairs, neared Honolulu on Sunday, officials said all passengers would be allowed to leave to go directly to the airport to take chartered flights home.

There are no cases of coronavirus on the ship, but passengers were undergoing medical screening, including thermal scanning before boarding buses to the airport.

Stadium to house up to 1,500 unused rental vehicles

HONOLULU — The parking lot of a Honolulu stadium has become the temporary home for rental vehicles that have been idled following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

A stadium official said 1,000-1,500 vehicles are expected to be stored at Aloha Stadium, the state’s largest outdoor arena that has 6,000 parking stalls.

“It’s what’s on the road versus what they can store,” said Aloha Stadium Manager Scott Chan.

Because of their limited parking capacity, representatives from a consortium of five rental car companies contacted stadium officials last week and the first vehicles were moved to the stadium’s lot Thursday, Chan said.

“They’re paying us,” Chan said. “We have administrative rules to enforce.”

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the incident commander for the state’s COVID-19 response, announced last week that sites were under consideration to serve as distribution points for toilet paper, hand sanitizer and other high demand items to relieve pressure on retailers and ensure products reach senior citizens.

Chan thinks this is the first time in Aloha Stadium’s 45-year history that the parking lot has been pressed into service to store rental vehicles.

Judge bars prosecutor because of virus

HAGATNA, Guam — A federal judge issued a ruling prohibiting a U.S. prosecutor from entering a district courthouse in Guam because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Federal Public Defender John Gorman requested that U.S. Attorney Shawn Anderson be barred from entering the court in Hagatna. Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood ordered that anyone who traveled outside Guam during the previous 14 days should not be allowed in the courthouse.

Gorman said Anderson recently returned to the U.S. territory from a vacation trip to Thailand, which the judge’s ruling noted Anderson did not deny.

“He has by now, gone into the U.S. Attorneys office and/or met with various U.S. Attorneys staff. He has willfully broken the quarantine and potentially infected that entire office,” Gorman wrote in his request.

Anderson did not have contact with any staff members and was prepared to work remotely, he said, adding that he did not travel to a “high-risk country” and does not have any symptoms of COVID-19.

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Guam had 29 confirmed cases of the virus and one death as of Monday, officials said.

The judge denied Gorman’s request that Anderson’s staff be banned from the court building and also placed a court prohibition on people who have been diagnosed with COVID-19, those who have had contact with an infected person, people who have flu-like symptoms and anyone who was asked to self-quarantine.

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