Police officers patrol beaches and parks keeping group gatherings small


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The holiday weekend warning was clear, avoid large gatherings and prevent the spread of COVID.

Police officers were out in force patrolling parks and beaches to make sure gatherings were kept small.

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The police presence was noticeable during the long Labor Day weekend, and it was not the sight from past holiday weekends. The gatherings at Ala Moana Beach Park were smaller and people were fairly distanced from each other.

“There’s a lot less people than I thought,” Honolulu resident Jamie Ernestberg said. “I thought there was going to be a lot more people here or even with the restrictions, smaller groups at least. But it looks pretty chill.”

On motorcycles or on foot, police officers said they were instructed to keep an eye out for group sizes.

Gatherings indoors are limited to 10 people, while outdoor gatherings are capped at 25 people. Those breaking the rules could be fined $250.

The Hawaii State Fusion Center is a branch within the state’s Department of Defense. The Hawaii Office of Homeland Security Administrator Frank Pace said the role of HSFC is to collect information from the public, analyze it and share it with law enforcement agencies.

“The Hawaii State Fusion Center received approximately 10 tips related to potential violations of the gathering restrictions here in the state,” Pace said. “The primary locations of those were from beach parks to other public land, and shopping centers parking lots of so forth.”

In this case, the HSFC gathered reports of emergency order violations.

Pace said, “We believe that is being sent to us is legitimate in nature and does have the potential to be violation.”

County mayors and the governor cracked down on enforcement after large beach parties were reported a week ago.

“There’s not too many people,” Honolulu resident Chris Simpson said. “Looks like everybody is complying and that they’re not having huge gatherings. Which is great, because if everyone follows the rules I believe that the case numbers will drop.”

Police officers also patrolled the popular beaches in Waikiki, but an police officer said they had not given out many tickets related to group size violations.

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“I think they gave out a great warning prior to this weekend,” Hawaii resident Taylor Otte said. “So that kind of got everybody thinking about their plans and making sure that they were following the rules correctly.”

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