(BIVN) – Following Friday’s announcement that Govrnor David Ige has signed a fifth emergency supplementary proclamation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic closing all state beaches in Hawaiʻi in order to limit activities outside the home, Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim signed his own new set of rules for the Big Island.
The Mayor’s COVID-19 Emergency Rule No. 2 allows ocean access from certain County parks for outdoor exercise, fishing for food, and the use of restroom and shower facilities.
In a Friday news release, the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources said “it became clear that many people are continuing to access beaches, waters, and trails for social and recreational activities without proper social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. Such activity contributes to the risk of spread of coronavirus across the state.”
Under these new rules, all beaches are closed, which means no sitting, standing, lying down, lounging, sunbathing, or loitering on beaches and sandbars. People can still cross beaches to access the ocean for outdoor exercise like surfing, solo paddling and swimming as long as social distances are maintained.
The County says the following beach parks “will be made available daily from 7:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., for the purposes of direct access to and from the ocean and shoreline in order to engage in outdoor exercise, fishing for and gathering food, and use of restroom and shower facilities”:
- Kahalu‘u Beach Park
- Magic Sands Beach Park
- Wai‘aha Bay Beach Park (Honl’s)
- Kawaihae Canoe Area
- Honoli‘i Beach Park
- Kaipalaoa Landing Beach Park
- Bayfront Beach Park
- Reed’s Bay Beach Park
- Lili‘uokalani Gardens
The following park restroom facilities will be opened daily from 7:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m.:
- 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.
- Liliuokalani 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) beach 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
The County says:
Park facilities that are not listed in the Rule remain closed, and reservations for these parks and recreational facilities are canceled through April 30, 2020.
The Rule notes that County cemeteries, including veterans’ cemeteries administered by the County, remain open for visitation during standard hours. Pana‘ewa Equestrian Center remains open only for persons with valid horse stall rental agreements, who are actively boarding a horse at the facility.
Rule No. 2 is to be read in conjunction with the Third Supplementary Proclamation issued on March 23, 2020, which directs people to stay at home, with exemptions for essential businesses and operations, and persons engaged in permitted activities. Social distancing requiring maintaining six feet of physical separation from other persons is stipulated in the Proclamation, along with limiting any gathering of more than 10 people.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We encouraged more severe restrictions after our law enforcement officers (DOCARE) and many people noted large groups of people continuing to congregate on beaches in close proximity to one another. Social distancing requirements are necessary for all of us to practice until COVID-19 is brought under control here in Hawai‘i. The Fifth Supplementary Proclamation does include exceptions which will allow people to still get outside and enjoy nature.”
The state says:
The emergency rules also contain provisions for boating, fishing, and hiking. No more than two people are allowed on any boat in Hawai‘i’s water for recreational purposes, unless they are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. Both people on the boat are required to maintain physical distancing of six-feet from one another, as is reasonably possible. All boats are required to stay 20-feet from one another.
Group hiking on State trails is not allowed, again unless all participants are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. People who want to hike alone, but who want to have another person nearby for safety reasons, are required to maintain a distance of not less than 20-feet from each other.
People can actively engage in fishing and gathering to get food. No groups of two or more people can engage in fishing and gathering in state waters or state lands, unless all in the group are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address.
DLNR is calling on each individual to take personal responsibility to limit the impact they have on their community and self-exposure to essential activities only. If you feel the need to hike, it’s recommend that you first check the Na Ala Hele website for trail updates, and then the Center of Disease Control and Hawai‘i Department of Health for the most up to date guidelines for personal safety and distancing requirements.
Certain DLNR-managed coastal and trail features are deemed unsuitable for visitation due the inability to achieve the desired social distancing recommendations, remoteness of location exacerbating public safety concerns, and known history of issues such as illegal camping and social gatherings. Please try to stay in or near your own ahupua‘a of residence for your outdoor exercise. For a complete list of closed state parks visit [this site.]
Violations of the emergency rules are a petty misdemeanor and could result in fines of up to $5,000 and one year in jail, or both.