Police issuing citations to beachgoers

Coronavirus

It’s been over a week since Hawaii Governor David Ige issued a statewide stay at home order.

The order allows only essential businesses to remain open, and for essential activities to be conducted.

When it comes to being on the beach, many are still confused about what is and is not allowed.

For a week, police statewide were issuing warnings to beach-goers, those who were sunbathing or laying out at the beach. Now, those people are receiving citations for being out unnecessarily during an emergency proclamation.

On Maui, officers cited people laying out at Napili Bay on Thursday.

MPD also shared a photo of officers in Kihei earlier this week, the officers were giving out final warnings before they would begin citing beach-goers.

Under the Governor’s order, residents are able to leave their homes for various needs, including the following:

  • getting healthcare
  • purchasing food, medicine, or gasoline
  • medicine and gasoline
  • taking care of the elderly, minors, and those with disabilities
  • returning to a place of residence outside of Hawaii
  • picking up educational materials for distance learning
  • receiving meals and any other related services
  • outdoor exercise (including surfing, swimming, and walking pets)

Outdoor exercise includes non-commercial ocean activities (meaning you are in the water). Once a person’s feet are on the sand they must be exercising or moving around.

Police are issuing citations to people who have an umbrella, beach chair or towel set up, people who are sunbathing, and people who are sitting on the beach reading a book. Police say those activities can be done at home.

However, people continue to pack beaches like Lanikai. Residents there told KHON2 they are fed up with the people jeopardizing their community.

“I think it’s being ignored, the most we [residents] do is walk, fish, canoe paddle, but others just hang out, party, and sun bathe and they’re not doing the six feet separation,” said Lanikai resident Joel Cavasso.

“I think they’re being selfish and putting our lives at stake,” he said.

Earlier this week, Chief Kalani Vierra, operations chief of the ocean safety bureau of the Kauai Fire Department, asked people to do their part to save lives.

In a video he said, “Most of our beach-goers are getting their exercise in, keeping their distance and going home. But we’ve been noticing at different beach areas people hanging out, sunbathing, and not following the stay at home orders given by the mayor. We all need to do our part to save lives. We encourage you to get your exercise in, keep your distance, but then go home. When in doubt, don’t hang out. We all need to do our part to save lives, especially our own.”

Kauai Police said they issued three citations on Friday to people who were sunbathing and laying out at the beach.

Fines for violating the stay at home order are up to $5,000 or one year in jail, or both.

Anyone in Hawaii who is issued a citation, whether it’s for being on the beach or driving to a friend’s house, will have to appear in court a minimum of eight weeks after the incident, and will have to explain to a judge their reasoning for being in their particular situation during an emergency proclamation.

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