HONOLULU(KHON2) — Officials warned residents to stay home and avoid gathering over the Labor Day weekend.
The fear was it would cause a surge in cases with large family gatherings at beaches or barbecues.
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Police were out in force to deter crowds and warned that anyone not following the rules would be cited. For the most part, people listened.
Police and the Division of Conservation Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) were on high alert as they looked for illegal gatherings — especially after a 300 to 400 person party was broken up along the Kaiwi shoreline the previous weekend.
Officials urged everyone to do the right thing by not gathering and report any groups that exceeded the 10 indoor and 25 outdoor limits.
DOCARE warned officers would confiscate equipment, and if things got really bad, they would have considered closing beaches.
In a statement, a DLNR spokesperson said:
“DOCARE did not receive any reports and says everything was quiet over the holiday weekend. The party at Alan Davis (Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline) is still under investigation.”
Meanwhile, Honolulu police issued more than 200 warnings and 100 citations mostly for gatherings exceeding the limit, park rule violations and traffic violations.
According to HPD, no arrests were made for emergency rule violations but they disrupted several illegal gatherings at Mokuleia and several Honolulu bars.
“Having more officers at the beach parks throughout the weekend made a difference,” said chief Rade Vanic. “In many cases, officers were able to talk to people before they set up the large tents and gathered in larger groups.”
Hawaii County police responded to 50 COVID-related incidents on the Big Island.
Hawaii Police Department public relations specialist Denise Laitinen said in a statement:
“There were no arrests made or citations issued during the Labor Day weekend; however, citations may not have been uploaded yet”
According to Mayor Mitch Roth, one person was cited for refusing to take down a tent. Other than that, he was happy with how things went.
“I’m really proud of our communities for coming together or better said, not coming together and gather this weekend,” Roth said. “They really took the warnings that we put out there to heart.”
Hawaii is the only county in the state with a 10-person limit inside and outside. The use of canopies and tents is also prohibited.
“Having smaller groups made it a lot easier for our police and for, you know, the DOCARE officers to actually do enforcement, and without the tents you have people outside, but they’re not all huddled up together.”
The Kauai Police Department issued one citation and made one arrest for a COVID-related violation.
In a statement, KPD assistant chief Mark Begley said they “made numerous checks at known gathering locations, the vast majority were in compliance.”
“There was one large gathering in Lydgate that quickly disbanded after learning that the officers were going to cite every individual in their group for noncompliance,” Begley said. “The officers were unable to identify the organizer, who would have otherwise been cited.”
On Maui, police received just two complaints about public gatherings and no citations were issued, according to Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino.
Victorino was proud that people listened to the warnings and followed the rules.
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“Thank you the people of Maui County, you did it,” Victorino said.