HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hundreds of people continued to gather on beaches and in the water on Sunday, Sept. 6, despite the stay-at-home order and the closure of beaches, parks, and trails.
Although COVID cases dropped to 164 cases statewide on Sunday, health officials said we’re not out of the woods just yet.
On Saturday, Sept. 5, Honolulu police have seen ticketing cars parked illegally and issuing citations to people in parks. But there wasn’t a big presence of enforcement on beaches.
That changed on Sunday.
HPD arrived on ATV’s and caught several beachgoers off guard on Oahu’s North Shore beaches.
One woman was sitting on her towel and ran into the water when police arrived, they sounded their siren and waited for her to exit the water and issued her a citation.
Many people were also seen at Three Tables on Oahu’s North Shore. Dozens of people were seen on floatation devices in the water, but some were caught sitting on the sand in groups and HPD ticketed them too.
The current stay-at-home order and beach and park closure prohibit people from sitting, lounging, loitering on the sand. Everyone must traverse the beach to get to the water or be in the water performing an activity such as swimming, diving, or fishing just to name a few.
Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said even though surge testing has yielded a small positive percentage, people are still testing positive for COVID.
“We’ve done surge testing on asymptomatic people who are just checking to see if they have COVID, and about 0.7% or about 1 out of every 150 people or so, have tested positive,” he said. “It’s a very low number, but it shows you that the virus is out there and that’s going to lead to spread.”
He said that just because people are outside, doesn’t mean they’re in the clear, and officials have seen the gatherings from Waikiki to North Shore.
“Unfortunately, they’re only hurting themselves and all of us, because if you’re connecting yourself with an innertube in a group of 15-20 people and having a cocktail out there on the ocean, if you’re within six-feet and not wearing a mask, you’re going to spread it,” Green said.
The Honolulu Police Department has not released how many citations have been given since the holiday weekend began.
Lt. Gov. Green said now is the time to knock out the virus, and possibly the stay-at-home order.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, and so if people could be careful this weekend it would be great because we don’t want to repeat what happened the July 4 weekend,” he said.
It was about three weeks after the 4th of July holiday where cases started to surge across the state and continued to climb until recently.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s office told KHON2 that there has not been a decision yet on whether he will extend the stay-at-home order or not.
Lt. Gov. Green said it will most likely depend on the numbers in the coming days.
“I think it’s going to depend on the numbers,” Green said. “I think that’s how the mayor and governor tend to look at it, they look at numbers, they feel pressure from people, and we give them a good picture of what’s happening at the hospitals and that’s what forms the idea.”
Green said the positivity rate has dropped to about 3% which is a good sign.
“We’re trending well but it’s a little too early to tell,” said Green. “We should have the numbers on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and that will give us plenty of time to decide whether to extend or modify the stay at home order.”
The stay-at-home order and beach, park, and trail closure is currently in effect until Thursday, Sept. 10.
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