By Jim Bea Sampaga

Photo by Dennis Oda, Star-Advertiser

On March 20, Gov. David Ige announced several measures to address the economic impact of COVID-19 in Hawaii along with the State Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) Director Scott Marukami and Small Business Administration (SBA) District Director Jane Sawyer.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Hawaii small businesses
Small businesses affected by COVID-19 can now file for low-interest working capital loans of up to $2 million from the SBA. The loans can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll and other bills that can’t be paid because of a disaster’s impact. To learn more, visit

State actions to address unemployment claims
Along with addressing unemployment claims filing problems, the state announced a program to efficiently train and transfer labor into Hawaii’s businesses that can help reduce job losses and dampen the economic slide due to COVID-19.

The state is taking actions such as expanding the online claims filing system capacity, increasing the phone facilities to field inquires and assist in filing of claims and interpreting Hawaii’s unemployment laws to the broadest extent possible to cover those who are out of work because of COVID-19.

“Please be assured that we are taking the actions necessary to ensure that all unemployment benefits claims will be filed and paid as quickly as possible,” said Gov. Ige. “Please bear with us as we develop capacity and expand points of entry for filing claims.

Reducing Unemployment Disruption & Economic Regeneration (RUDDER)
RUDDER is DLIR’s economic regeneration initiative that provides State Employment & Training Funds that immediately infuses money into the economy and serve as the foundational strategy for aligning federal workforce programs in a unified effort to efficiently train and transfer labor into Hawaii’s businesses that can help reduce job losses and dampen the economic slide.

“The primary objective of RUDDER is to facilitate an efficient labor exchange between the sectors hardest hit by COVID-19 and healthcare sector employers hiring employees to combat COVID-19,” said DLIR Director Scott Murakami.

“We know that jobs involving cleaning, such as hotel housekeepers, could move into jobs in the healthcare with minimal training and the RUDDER program will facilitate that exchange.”

For more updates, visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.