Stay at home order begins: police issue citations, Kauai starting checkpoints

Coronavirus

Hawaii Governor David Ige’s stay at home, work from home order went into effect Wednesday statewide.

So far, Honolulu Police have cited dozens of people and have made two arrests.

Hawaii Island police said they’ve arrested one person for violating the order.

On Thursday, Kauai Police announced they are conducting checkpoints.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he’s happy with how most residents have responded to his initial stay at home order, which began on Monday.

“I have to say I’m so proud of our community,” he said. “They are following the orders entered by the governor and by the mayor and we’re seeing a huge difference in activity from last Friday to now.”

“I drove through Waikiki last Friday and saw people on the beach watching the sunset and acting as if things were the same. We don’t see that anymore. Waikiki is pretty much a ghost town, many of the streets and roads around our island are ghost towns,” he continued.

As of publishing, HPD said they have cited 70 people for violating the emergency declarations, mostly for being in parks. Two people have been arrested.

On Thursday, Hawaii Island police said they arrested a 43-year-old Kailua-Kona woman. According to police, she went to a residence in Captain Cook, and threw a rock at a window and started an argument with the homeowners, which violated a court order. Police said she was not at her place of residence during the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation, and she was arrested for Prohibited Acts (Emergency Management). Hawaii police said she was charged for both offense and her bail was set at $4,000.

“For the most part, we’ve had no reported problems,” said Hawaii Island Mayor Harry Kim on Thursday morning. “The enforcement of this kind of thing is really, really difficult because the only way you can see who is not staying at home is to stop and check them.”

On Thursday, Kauai Police set up checkpoints throughout the Garden Isle to remind drivers of the new rules.

“We began to do checkpoints at various locations throughout our island to begin notifying the public and reminding them of the governors stay at home order, and the mayor’s emergency rule,” explained Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck.

Kauai is the only island who has instituted a nighttime curfew, which Chief Raybuck said has been followed by the majority of residents.

“We’re seeing great compliance with the curfew,” he said. “One of the concerns we’ve had is that there doesn’t seem to be a significant decrease on the roadway during regular business hours.”

He explained how devastating it would be if COVID-19 spread across Kauai.

“Our island is very small, our public health care system cannot support the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus as we’ve seen across the U.S. and in our own state. So we’re out there to try and impress upon the public to comply with the governor and mayor’s rules so we can get through this together,” Chief Raybuck said.

He said officers will use discretion while out in the field and that some employers have given employees letters which will help officers identify who is permitted to drive.  

He also encourages residents to read the governor and mayor’s orders so they can comply.

“Our desire is that people voluntarily comply with these rules, if they don’t then they risk a $5,000 fine, up to one year in jail, or both. We don’t want to add to this crisis that many are facing by citing or taking them to jail,” he said.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said it’s too early to tell how his residents are responding to the new order. But he did notice fewer people on the road and at the beach on the Kuhio holiday.

“In my opinion, we’re still under control,” he said. “I will make changes as necessitated. At this point, I think what we’re doing, I feel at least, comfortable right now.”

Most of the county mayors said they will be enforcing large group gatherings and remind people to restrict being in a crowd of 10 people or more.

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