Police statewide are starting to crack down on mandate

Coronavirus

Police in each county have begun cracking down on people who are abusing the statewide “Stay at Home” order that Gov. David Ige issued last week.

Officers on all islands said they spent the last week educating visitors and residents about what is and is not permitted.  

The majority of citations and warnings thus far have come from people being at the beach.

All state parks and county beach parks remain closed, beaches are open but for very limited use.

Certain ocean activities, like surfing, stand-up paddleboarding alone, and swimming are okay. Commercial activities, like tours, are prohibited.

However, when a person is on the sand, he or she must be actively moving, meaning they must be engaging in an activity like walking or running.

People cannot station themselves at the beach, meaning a person cannot set up a towel or chair, read a book at the beach, or sit on the beach to watch the sunset.

“I think there is confusion with the fact people want to sit on the beach, watch the sunset on the beach. You can’t do those kind of things because we’re trying to flatten the curve, we’re trying to keep the community safe,” said Maui police department Lt. Audra Sellers.

She said Maui county police started to give out warnings and reprimands late last week.

“Officers were up and down the beaches, people have been calling in the non-emergency number, and we’ve been receiving Facebook messages saying ‘Hey, these people are out there.’ So officers are going down there, mind you while still doing the day-to-day calls that we get because it doesn’t stop for police or first responders. We’re going to check on these and trying to re-educate them while giving them a warning and reprimands saying ‘Hey it’s going to be progressive, we’re going to have to end up citing you if you don’t adhere to the proclamation so yes, we have started issuing citations, unfortunately,” Lt. Sellers said.

As of 6 a.m. Monday, MPD had issued a total of 30 citations and made one arrest for criminal trespass.

Hawaii Island police have issued 13 violations, including five arrests and six citations. According to Hawaii Island police Major Samuel Jelsma, Kona has had the highest number of violations with six, followed by Kau with three persons in violation, South Hilo with two violations and Puna with two violations.

He said the arrests on Hawaii Island are primarily tied to another, citations are typically persons out creating a disturbance or police otherwise had reason to contact them. 

For now, Hawaii Island police are issuing warnings to beach-goers but he said in an e-mail, “However, that is situation dependent and potentially that could evolve into citations without the warning as time passes and everyone should be aware.”

Kauai is the only county with a curfew and checkpoints.

This weekend, KPD issued four citations for violating curfew.

As of Monday afternoon, no citations or arrests have been made regarding the stay-at-home order on the Garden Isle.

Kauai officials say, for the most part, the public has been compliant regarding the curfew law.

“We all need to have self-discipline right now and ask ourselves if we really need to be outside,” Kauai officials said. “Unfortunately, some people won’t take this seriously until it affects them directly. I hope they can take a look at what’s occurring around the world to understand the seriousness of this issue and to consider the health and safety of our community before it’s too late.”

Honolulu Police have not released updated numbers on citations. On Thursday, March 26, HPD said they arrested two and handed out 70 citations.

As for the mandatory quarantine, the Hawaii Tourism Authority said on Monday they had 45 workers calling the nearly 800 visitors who have arrived since the 14-day mandatory quarantine began.

HTA officials said they will call the hotel rooms. If no one answers, they will call at random a second time and if no one answers after three attempts, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency will be notified.

Violation of the order can result in a fine up to $5,000, arrest, or both with up to one year in jail.

“During this hard economic time, this can be avoided by voluntary compliance, and again through education,” said Lt. Sellers of MPD.

Maui County residents can see a detailed list of what is permitted here.

Kauai residents can click here.

Honolulu residents can click here.

Hawaii County residents can click here.

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