Resident, visitor tensions continue to mount

Coronavirus

Frustrations are mounting among residents and tourists across the state.  

Despite Gov. David Ige asking visitors not to come to Hawaii, it’s clear many are still enjoying a trip to paradise.

Honolulu, Kauai, and Hawaii County have closed their county beach parks as mayors try to enact strict regulations to prevent the spread of Covid-19, but beaches have been packed.

On Friday, Honolulu Ocean Safety announced they are not stationed in any towers across the island.

“As of yesterday, we’re on a reduced workforce and that means we’re acting as mobile responders,” explained Honolulu Ocean Safety Lt. Kerry Atwood. “So we have trucks with rescue units patrolling and ATVs patrolling the shoreline at this time.”

The timing comes as an advisory level swell is hitting the North Shore and people continue to pack the beach.

“The message we’d like to get out to the public and our visitors is…please stay home for ocean safety, stay home for your first responders, do your part this is a serious situation we’re dealing with,” Lt. Atwood said.

On Kauai, residents are asking visitors to stay away. North Shore Kauai residents tell KHON2 that families are isolating and listening to the advice of the Hawaii government and that they are frustrated visitors continue to come into their community.

Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim announced he is also closing county beaches, but residents there tell us it wasn’t strictly enforced.

One North Shore Neighborhood Board member on Oahu said the tension is increasing and she’s being asked by residents what can be done to keep tourists out.

“People are frustrated, they don’t want the visitors here, it’s a threat to them,” Raquel Hill said.

“Clearly the visitors are not compliant. Last night on the news everyone saw them going under the caution tape and going to the beach. Social distancing? Okay, they’re in the water together how’s that working?” she said.

“That tension has already started because there’s no real support from our government,” she added.

She said it doesn’t help when tour busses continue to bring in hundreds of tourists daily and the North Shore community continues to try and keep themselves healthy.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has not closed county beaches but he did say on Friday that it would be discussed on Monday.

All state parks remain closed including Diamond Head, Makapuu, Wailuku River, Iao Valley, and Kokee.

All ocean commercial activities such as whale watches, dinner cruises, stand up paddleboard and or surf lessons have also been closed including trail tours.

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