Halloween gatherings in Waikiki are discouraged


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The bars and clubs remain closed in Waikiki under Tier Two of Honolulu’s reopening strategy, the typical Halloween plans for adults are not there this year, and some are hoping for a quieter Halloween weekend by following COVID-19 guidelines.

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The sea of people in costumes walking down the streets of Waikiki is highly discouraged under the pandemic. Councilmember Tommy Waters said he wants people to use common sense and avoid putting themselves and others at risk for the virus.

“It typically is a fun holiday, especially in Waikiki,” Waters said. “But this year we have coronavirus, it’s deadly, it’s scary, right? Not the Halloween kind of scary.” 

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he will be meeting with Honolulu police to figure out their plan of action to enforce COVID-19 safety guidelines this weekend.

Caldwell said, “To talk about what other kinds of things can we do, have, higher presence in Waikiki, other ways to get people to comply and I am just hoping people will just comply.”

Currently, group gatherings are limited to five people and face coverings should be worn when social distancing is not possible outdoors. Masks should be worn at all times indoors under county rules.

The community in Waikiki has noticed more visitors along with more locals leaving their homes. Neighborhood Board Member Jeff Merz said he hopes people understand that this is not like other years where festivities were welcomed.

Merz said, “Everybody wants to get out of the house and have a fun time, but I would just put out a public service message which says, you know, just wait till next year.”  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts door-to-door trick or treating and indoor costumes parties in high-risk activities for the virus. Popular events on Oahu are going the virtual route.

The Honolulu Zoo Society is putting together a virtual Halloween program for families, their “Boo” at the zoo event will be done on Zoom. The zoo’s Society Director of Education, Scarlett Shankles said they have about 90 sign-ups so far.

“We have little treats for you inside of your bags, you don’t need to go door to door or buy anything,” Shankles said. “You can just stay at home and enjoy the show with your family. ” 

Large gatherings could put the county’s ability to move into Tier Three at risk if cases grow from possible super-spreader events.

Caldwell said, “Is it worth the sacrifice of having one fun night in a costume for weeks, if not months of both health sickness and economic sickness.” 

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