HONOLULU (KHON2) – With Governor David Ige and Hawaii’s county mayors uniting to outlaw large gatherings to no more than groups of 10, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he has a plan to stop those from happening on Oahu’s beaches: no large tents.
State officials pointed to the 4th of July, and to a lesser extent Memorial Day gatherings, as the ignition for an explosion of COVID-19 cases that Hawaii has seen in the past week.
“July 4th came and went where we had a lot of people out. Anybody who went out to the beach that weekend anywhere in the state saw large gatherings people with their tents and there was mingling. So that set up little sparks,” Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said.
The state responded by announcing the limiting of gatherings Wednesday afternoon, July 29.
In a meeting with fellow county mayors and Governor Ige, Mayor Caldwell pitched the idea to fold large tents on beaches and parks completely. He also spoke to the Department of Land and Natural Resources about combining state and county leadership to help outlaw the canopies. The DLNR is also cracking down on large gatherings, even closing Kauai’s Polihale State Park indefinitely.
“That kind of condition, those tents provide a welcoming environment to gather close together for long periods of time,” Mayor Caldwell said.
Honolulu’s leader also blamed tents for providing a way for members of different households to intermingle and disregard social distancing guidelines.
“It’s the structures where we see gatherings. Even if you have a pod of 10 or less you have many pods under one tent sometimes well over 100 and they’re not podding at all they’re not six feet apart they’re next to each other,” Mayor Caldwell said.
A decision on tents is something Mayor Caldwell hopes to announce in the coming days.