Public safety concerns over Honolulu’s one-person emergency order

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lieutenant Governor Josh Green said members from one household should be able to go to the beach, trails and parks, and that the latest Honolulu emergency order should be amended to allow two people to go to outdoor public spaces.

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Botanical gardens, beaches and parks will reopen on Sept. 10, but will be limited to one-person activities.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the latest actions draw a clear line for police officers to enforce the no gathering orders, but Lt. Gov. Josh Green says activities could be risky if done alone.

“It should at least be two people. I can tell you when I’m on call at the hospital we always ask people to hike in pairs, in tandem,” Green said. “If one person shatters their leg, a bad fracture, they can’t get out of there alive, so you have to be with somebody to be safe.”  

The mayor’s office said certain modification will be permitted, for example, if a person with a disability is accompanied by a caregiver.

Although, no word yet on amendments to permit activities with more than one person.

Green said, “I’m going to ask them to fix that, if I can humbly.”

Avid hikers do not recommend going on trails alone. Hawaii Trail & Mountain Corp. Hike Coordinator, Barbara Bruno said there are some actions people can take if they decide to hike alone.

Bruno said it is important to create a “flight plan”, let someone know where you will hike and when you plan to return.

“You don’t want to go out on the trail and have nobody know where you are going or when you’re expected back, that’s just creating a risky situation,” Bruno said. “We also want to be respectful right now to our emergency personnel, we have to do whatever we can to avoid undue risks.” 

She does not recommend exploring unknown trails alone.

The one-person rule also applies to people on beaches. However, the City does not have jurisdiction over ocean activities and is asking people to use their better judgement.

“To be frank, the recommendation is not medical or scientific,” Green said. “You should be able to go to a beach and a park with your immediate household members, you are already extremely exposed to them, that is not a scientific or health threat.”

The latest COVID-19 emergency order is set to remain in effect through Sept. 23.

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