(BIVN) – After criticism that the closure of public restrooms at county parks was contrary to federal guidance in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, officials say some facilities are now open.
The Hawaiʻi County Department of Parks and Recreation announced on Thursday that certain park restroom facilities “are now open for the public’s convenience during the hours noted.”
Those restrooms are:
- Mo‘oheau Bus Terminal – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Lincoln Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Bayfront Soccer Fields – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Bayfront Beach Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Lili‘uokalani Gardens – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Reeds Bay Beach Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Veterans Cemetery No. 2 – 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
- Honoli‘i Beach Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- ‘Alae Cemetery – 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Shipman Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Kurtistown Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Kahalu‘u Beach Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Magic Sands Beach Park (La’aloa) – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Wai‘aha Bay Beach Park (Honl’s) – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Kailua Park (Old A/Maka‘eo) runway only – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Waikoloa Pu‘u Nui Park – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Waimea Park tennis courts only – 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Gilbert Kahele Recreation Area – 24 hours
“People may enter the park to use the restrooms, but must then leave the park,” the county stated in a news release.
On March 24, the Hawaiʻi Island Legislative Delegation sent a letter to Mayor Harry Kim, urging the mayor to “reconsider the closing of all County of Hawai‘i parks and restroom facilities during Governor Ige’s ‘stay-at-home order’.”
“The closure of all parks and restroom facilities will have a major impact on our houseless population, which includes the elderly with pre-existing health issues and limited access to hygiene services,” the Big Island state senators and representatives wrote. “They are especially at risk of contracting COVID-19 and passing on this illness to others in our community.”
“According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention”, the legislators pointed out, “washing your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water is one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
“Closing 100% of all County of Hawaiʻi parks and restroom facilities goes against CDC guidance and has the potential to rapidly develop into a public health crisis,” the delegation said.
The County reminds the public that all parks and recreational sites and facilities are closed to all uses, with the following exceptions:
- County cemeteries (including veterans’ cemeteries) remain open during standard operating times. Restrictions on social distancing and gathering apply. No committal services (per Federal and State policies) are allowed at this time at veterans cemeteries, but direct internments are allowed with only direct family members in attendance.
- The horse stalls at Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center remain open for stall renters with horse(s) actively occupying their rented stalls.