Saturday, March 13, 1999

Y2K bug threatens
party plans

The millennial menace will keep
workers busy on New Year's Eve

By Christine Donnelly


It's already been described as a menace to society, a scourge on humanity. Now it turns out the "Y2K bug" is a party pooper, too.

Dec. 31, 1999, may call for the biggest New Year's Eve celebration of the millennium.

But lots of Hawaii workers will miss out on the fun as their employers limit holiday vacation this year to ensure enough manpower is on duty to cope with any disruptions caused by the so-called millennium bug.

Airports, police and fire departments, health care facilities, some computer repair companies and many others have put the kibosh on end-of-the-year vacations for key staff, or are considering doing so.

Besides that, many are beefing up weekend staff this New Year's Eve and New Year's Day, which fall on a Friday and Saturday, respectively.

"We know that we have to be prepared for the worst, even though we don't think the worst will happen. It means missing out on parties, and that's too bad, but hey, I'll be (working) here, too," said Jerry Matsuda, administrator of Hawaii's airports and one of the bosses limiting time off.

The extra staff may be standing by to respond to a nonevent. Optimists say the new century is destined to arrive without a hiccup, given the massive amount of money and time spent to fix the bug's root -- some computer equipment's inability to comprehend the date 2000.

The more pessimistic, however, fear disruptions to virtually every aspect of our highly computerized lives.

Amid all the uncertainty, one thing's for sure: overtime pay.

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