O‘ahu Beaches, Parks and Gardens Will Close Again as Honolulu Launches a New Hotline for COVID-19 Complaints
The mandatory 14-day quarantine for interisland travel will also go back into effect starting Tuesday, August 11, as Honolulu and the state try to get a handle on skyrocketing numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Update, Aug. 10: This story has been updated to mention that state trails are now also closed.
Photo: Katie Kenny
It’s a sad but not surprising regression back to what life was like on O‘ahu in early April. Thursday, Aug. 6, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that starting this weekend, essentially starting Saturday, Aug. 8, parks, gardens and beaches across the island will be closed for a month. Team sports are canceled. And, for the first time, people who do see others violating COVID-19 restrictions in Honolulu have a hotline to call.
This is a continuation of the rollbacks that began July 31, when bars were ordered to close for at least three weeks following a trio of record-setting highs in daily COVID-19 cases. Thursday, an elderly woman and man became the 28th and 29th deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. On Friday, Aug. 7, the daily case count was reported as 201, just shy of the highest one-day count of 207 on Monday, which was inflated by cases delayed by a laboratory problem over the weekend.
“At this time, it is projected that our intensive care units at the hospitals on Oʻahu will be filled to capacity and overrun by the end of this month,” Anderson says. “It is a dire situation.”
Gov. David Ige says after discussions with all the county mayors, the state decided to reinstate the mandatory 14-day quarantine for interisland travelers beginning on Tuesday, Aug. 11 through Aug. 31. Initially, it was for all islands, but later, the governor changed the mandate so people arriving on Oʻahu are exempt. We do not know what it will mean for public schools, currently scheduled to begin the school year on Aug. 17, or the relaxing of quarantine measures for travelers who produce a negative COVID-19 test. Ige says the state is considering all of these and expects to make announcements about both as soon as within a week.
The other closings are all focused on Honolulu, the county with 87% of the cases to date. The Act With Care, Do Not Gather order will not close dine-in restaurants or mean a complete lockdown, as some feared. Here is the list of what will close on Oʻahu from 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, until Sept. 5.
All state and county beaches and parks for recreation. People can still fish, swim, paddle, dive and do other watersports. Restrooms will stay open.
All campgrounds and botanical gardens. State trails closed at the request of the city on Aug. 10. You can see the full list at hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov.
Team sports in parks are suspended.
All bowling alleys, arcades and mini golf businesses.
Public and private pools and tennis courts.
Golf courses will remain open but will have to follow phase one restrictions.
Fitness centers can remain open. Group classes are not allowed.
All kitchen workers must wear masks.
The parking lots at Kāne‘ohe, Kahuku and Wai‘anae district parks as well as Neal Blaisdell District Park in ‘Aiea will remain open so people can drop off ballots for the primary election. Those will close on Sunday, Aug. 9.
The other big part of Thursday’s announcement is enforcement. Beginning Sunday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m., the Honolulu Police Department will activate a new COVID-19 Enforcement Hotline. People can call (808) 723-3900 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with violations they witness, whether it is a big gathering or a business not complying with county measures. Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard says a COVID enforcement team of 160 officers will follow up on complaints and will also regularly patrol places where people tend to gather islandwide.
“At this point, we’re probably going to do very few warnings,” Ballard said. “It will be citations and arrests.
“We need to get the state open. We need to get our island open. We need to get back to normal. So, I’m just begging you, please, we got 28 days. Let’s show we can do this and when we reopen, let’s follow the rules.”