HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii recently dropped its outdoor mask mandate and many came out to celebrate with loved ones at Ala Moana Beach Park.
Tens of thousands of people packed beaches and trails this holiday weekend with loved ones.
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“It feels good to be out,” said Oahu resident Derek Lacusta. “No masks. Got our friends. We’re staying safe still. It’s good to enjoy this weather.”
“This year is great,” said Jami Marciel. “We get to be outside with the family. We don’t have to wear a mask anymore. It’s a nice day. So we’re having fun.”
Some families got together for the first time since the pandemic began.
“This is really a special time for all of us to have the whole family here,” said Oahu resident Kauila Kealoha. “We have family from Maui all over the island. This is all last minute. Last night everyone said let’s go to the beach. So here we are enjoying our Memorial Day weekend.”
Others came to the beach for the first time in months to enjoy with fewer restrictions.
“We’re fortunate to be able to get out with everyone and gather,” said resident Daniel Russell. “As you can see around Ala Moana Beach Park everyone is having a great time and spending time with the family. So it’s relaxing, and we’re feeling free today.”
Many people say they spent most of last summer indoors and have different plans for this year.
“We’ll probably go to the beach more on the weekends, hiking, getting out of the house,” said Marciel.
Ocean Safety and the Honolulu Fire Department kept extremely busy over the holiday weekend, and with fewer restrictions in place than last year, they’re anticipating a busy summer.
“This is definitely the busiest I’ve seen Ala Moana Beach Park since pre-pandemic,” said Lt. Bill Ingram, Honolulu Ocean Safety. “There are probably close to 20,000 to 30,000 people here,” he continued. It’s going to be a crazy summer. I just hope we get the man power we need to take care of the crowds.”
Ocean Safety made 57 rescues on the South Shore with about 3,700 preventative actions.
On the East shore, there were 54 rescues with over 6,000 preventative actions.
On North Shore, there were 26 rescues and close to 6,500 preventative actions.
On Oahu’s West side, there were 50 rescues and 3,500 preventative actions.
In all, Ocean Safety rescued 187 people over the three-day weekend.
Honolulu Emergency Medical Services also responded to more than three dozen car crashes ranging from minor to a fatality.
Paramedics and EMTs responded to more than a half a dozen hikers, none of the hikers suffered life-threatening emergencies.
Honolulu Fire Department made 17 hiker rescues.