A look back: Hawaii proves to be the aloha state during COVID-19 pandemic

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) – March 25 marks one year since Hawaii’s first stay-at-home order. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the community stepped up in their own unique ways to help.

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Toilet paper and sanitizer were flying off the shelves in March 2020. Hawaii residents were concerned about ports closing as COVID-19 cases spiked around the world.

That’s when Maui Brewing Company saw the opportunity to mix up a different kind of concoction.

“Since we had the distillery, we were able to pivot and start making hand sanitizer very quickly,” said Garrett Marrero from the Maui Brewing Company.

As Hawaii’s first confirmed coronavirus case was announced, masks were also becoming essential.

“Our inboxes were flooded with people from across the state, like essential workers, regular everyday people, first responders and medical staff,” said Wrenn Okada a teacher and mask maker. “At one point, we were literally working 24 hours a day.”

Wrenn Okada and his mother took to social media to offer homemade masks. The teacher says they gave away over 5,000 this past year.

Stay at home, work from home, and no gathering. Those were words from officials as the Coronavirus continue to threaten the islands. That prompted the Maui Police Department to get creative to celebrate a few of the Valley Isle’s keiki.

“We decided that this was something that we needed to do to reach out to our kids and let them know that they’re not alone,” said Lt. Audra Sellers with the Maui Police Department. “You’d be amazed at how many people that we actually went to see that were older as well.”

As tourism went dark, Mystical Sounds and Production kept the lights on.

“The first hotel was the Marriott and then I lit it up with a heart pattern,” said Joe Ho, owner of Mystical Sounds and Production. “Then after that, some of my friends in Vegas called me and they start doing the same thing and before you know it, the whole world was doing almost something similar.”

One thing we did not lose out on during the COVID-19 pandemic, was claiming the title of the aloha state.

“They call it the aloha state for a reason. The people of Hawaii really care about each other, about strangers, family, and friends, it doesn’t matter,” said Okada.

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