City parks and state beaches re-open for exercise only

Coronavirus

Most Honolulu city parks re-opened on Saturday after being shut down by Mayor Kirk Caldwell back on March 21.

At 5 a.m. caution tape and no parking signs were lifted and parking lots re-opened to the public.

However, what you can do at a park and beach park remains limited.

At 2:30 p.m., on Saturday, April 25, Governor David Ige announced he had re-opened state beaches for exercise use only.

Governor Ige closed all state beaches last week due to the fact people continued to congregate and not follow proper social distancing guidelines. Others continued to sit on the beach, which has not been allowed for over one month.

No one is allowed to sunbathe, read a book, set up a towel, chair, or congregate with others on any beach in the state.

State and county officials emphasized that people must be moving (walking, running, jogging) on the beach or they can be cited by police.

“As long as they’re not gathering or standing around, lying on the beach, or sitting on the beach,” explained Michele Nekota, Director of Parks and Recreation for City and County of Honolulu. “They have to be walking, running or jogging or biking of course on the proper path.”

The same rules apply for parks in Honolulu. No one can sit down on a bench or have a picnic. People may only walk through the park to go to the bathroom or get to the ocean.

“Honolulu police provides enforcement for the parks and I wouldn’t be able to answer exactly what they would be doing, but they’re going to be around and monitoring and enforcing the parks,” said Nekota.

KHON2 spoke to Melanie Vanepps, a 12-year-old Honolulu resident, who said she was happy to finally be outside again.

She told KHON2 that she hopes others follow the rules so parks don’t have to shut down again.

“You have to stay six feet away from people, and you can’t stand still on the beach,” she said.

“If they keep not following it then more cases are going to go up, and we are not going to be allowed to walk in the parks anymore. And I’ll be stuck in the house all day again,” she said.

With beach parks open once again, Honolulu Ocean Safety are also back in their towers. They’ll be working their normal hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Playgrounds, off-leash dog parks, campgrounds, sporting activities (soccer, basketball, volleyball, tennis etc.), gyms, pools, skateparks and recreation buildings remain closed.

Hanauma Bay and Koko Head shooting complex are also closed.

State parks that have re-opened (for exercise purposes only) include but are not limited to: Polihale State Park on Kauai, Makena State Park on Maui, Malaekahana and Kaena State Park on Oahu.

Ocean activities like surfing, swimming and stand-up paddle boarding are allowed.

Everyone is to continue social distancing while on the beach and in parks.

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