HONOLULU (AP) — Observatories on Hawaii’s tallest mountain have shut down operations in response to the governor’s stay-at-home order aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.
The shutdown of telescope operations on Mauna Kea is expected to affect more than 500 technicians, astronomers, instrument scientists, engineers, and support staff who work at the Big Island summit and at observatory bases below, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.
Democratic Gov. David Ige signed a March 23 proclamation ordering state residents to remain at their homes from March 25 through April 30, exempting workers deemed essential.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.
Most of the work at the Mauna Kea observatories is federally funded so few, if any, employees are likely to be laid off or furloughed, said Doug Simons, director of Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.