HONOLULU(KHON2)–Mayor Kirk Caldwell extended the stay at home/work from home order for Honolulu through May 31st, but announced plans to reopen city parks for exercise. This as Honolulu County logged two days without any new cases of COVID-19.
“We’re extending the City and County of Honolulu’s stay at home, work at home order which would have expired at the end of April to May 31 of 2020 with modifications,” Caldwell announced in a press conference.
“Since April 4, the Oahu cases have been slowly dropping. The last two days zero, some other days close to zero.”
Honolulu’s stay at home order went into effect Monday, March 23 at 4:30 p.m. and was meant to end April 30.
Caldwell said extending it is intended to prevent an unwanted spike in new cases that would force things to move backwards.
“If this stays low, we can start looking and opening up other things too in a phased way. Keeping the stay at home order in place, but in a phased way reopening, and it’s incumbent of all of us keeping it low so we can do the phased reopening. And if we see it start to spike up then we have to slow down, stop, maybe step back or move more slowly.”
The last thing he wants to do is open things up and have to close them again.
“It’s going to be very hard to take things away, things that we took away before and have given them back, and then take it away again.”
On Saturday, city parks will reopen for jogging, running and bike riding. People will also be allowed to walk through parks to get to the ocean.
However, other park facilities will remain closed such as: playgrounds, off-leash dog parks, campgrounds, play courts (volleyball, basketball, tennis, pickleball), gyms, pools, all fields, skate parks, and recreation buildings. Sporting activities are not allowed.
“This is all about physical distancing. It’s kind of hard to be physical distancing when you’re playing volleyball or basketball even if you try because you’ll be bumping into each other. So any contact sports or sports with balls and those kind of things will not be allowed for now,” Caldwell explained.
The five Honolulu Botanical Gardens are scheduled to reopen for passive use on Friday, May 1. This means no camping, garden tours, or recreational programs will be offered at that time.
The Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve and Koko Head Shooting Complex will remain closed.
“I do think we should live to expect that in the future the order will stay in place with further and further modifications. And at the end of the day the order will disappear.”
However, Caldwell said things will not be going back to normal any time soon.
“The end game is really a vaccine, which they project 18 months away, 24 months away. I’m hoping it’s sooner. But right now until those two things happen–aggressive, very positive treatment therapy or a vaccine–we have to live in this new normal to keep this curve flat.”