(BIVN) – The Waipiʻo Valley Access Road will be closed to visitors from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. starting Friday, May 22, through Monday, May 25.
The County of Hawaiʻi announced the closure on Thursday, “in anticipation of large crowd gatherings combined with the lack of resources to enforce COVID safe physical distancing practices.” According to the County Department of Public Works:
The closure and safety measures are due to numerous visitors to the area not conforming to COVID-19 social distancing and exceeding crowd size restrictions. Special duty officers and Waipi‘o Valley Rangers will be on site at the top of the road leading into the valley to ensure valley access is restricted to local traffic only (residents, land owners, and farmers). Local traffic will be allowed to pass through a single vehicle at a time.
About two weeks ago, for example, the Hawaiʻi County Fire Department pulled an injured hiker out of the area near Hiʻilawe Falls. The visitor failed to adhere to stay at home orders and was hiking with a large group in Waipiʻo Valley, the rescue team reported.
Valley tours are not authorized during this time, the county says.
In a news release, the County also reminded the public that according to the latest amendment to Mayor Kim’s COVID-19 Emergency Rule No. 4, all County of Hawai‘i beach and shoreline parks, except Hakalau Beach Park and Kūhiō Kalaniana’ole Park, are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. subject to the following restrictions that seek to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
- No group shall exceed 10 people.
- All persons using open beach and shoreline areas who are not part of the same household shall comply with state and county social distancing requirements.
- All pavilions, playgrounds, sport courts and fields, indoor facilities, and similar areas where gatherings may occur in these beach parks shall remain closed.