Law enforcement busts COVID-19 violators at Makena State Park

Local News

MAKENA, Hawaii (KHON2) — A team of eight officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) conducted a law enforcement operation on Sunday at Little Beach in Makena State Park.

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DLNR says the beach has been the site of large Sunday night parties and drum circles, where alcohol and drug use, public nudity and littering have been chronic problems. On Sunday, DOCARE officers began walking down the beach toward what they say was an estimated group of 200 to 225 people at Little Beach. The majority packed up and began hiking back over a small ridge once they saw law enforcement.

Officers cited one woman who they say was a nurse that had just moved to Maui from Colorado. DOCARE Lieutenant John Yamamoto reminded the woman of the state’s current mandatory mask mandate and cited her for having alcohol in the park.

“I was very taken aback that a nurse who arrived a week ago spent her first weekend on Maui at a potential super spreader event. She presumably will be heading into a hospital soon,” State Parks Assistant Administrator Alan Carpenter said. “These are the kinds of actions that are insensitive and inappropriate anywhere, not the least of which at a crowded beach party.”

DOCARE officers warned others on the beach about the COVID-19 rules on large gatherings. Many of the beach goers were not physically distanced or wearing masks when close to others, explained DLNR.

Two drummers, who packed up to leave once DOCARE officers arrived, claimed that with Maui’s COVID-19 infection rates being much lower than most places on the mainland, there was no need to worry.

“We trust people and the tourists are being tested, so we don’t worry too much about it. Some people wear masks and we respect that,” Kai Knight said.

“These are the very types of attitudes and behaviors that could well set us back,” DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla responded. “We know from all of the expert health and safety advice that large gatherings are potential super spreaders. Is it more important to attend these Sunday night gatherings or to practice personal responsibility?”

The operation was part of a continued push to stop law breaking at Little Beach.

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