Despite orders to avoid social gatherings, people are still crowding onto beaches

Updated: Mar. 20, 2020 at 6:00 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Despite major shops, restaurants and city parks closing by the order of Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, there was no absence of sunbathers in Waikiki Friday morning.

It was a similar scene at shorelines around Oahu and the state, outraging many online.

A shoreline on Oahu's North Shore was also crowded Friday.
A shoreline on Oahu's North Shore was also crowded Friday.(Jerry Jones)

Clearing up his message in a press conference, Mayor Caldwell repeated that the beach parks were closed, but he does not have the authority to restrict people from accessing the water.

“Beaches below the high water mark are open to the public and controlled by the state of Hawaii and DLNR, and we don’t have control over that,” Caldwell said.

The mayor acknowledged large groups on the shorelines are the exact things they’re trying to avoid.

“Here’s the point: We’re pretty much hunkering down in the City and County of Honolulu,” Caldwell said. “We don’t want to have large gatherings. We don’t want any gatherings anywhere in any private or public facilities.”

He added, “It’s not a perfect solution because people continue to not follow the order. We are hoping that as we go forward, people will begin to realize the the significance of the spread of this virus.”

As an added incentive to stay out of the water, city lifeguard resources are limited. Crews are in mobile response mode and they are urging people to stay out of the water as not all beaches will have staff on hand to respond to an emergency if needed.

“We have rising surf on the north shore and will anticipate our south shore to pick up within the next few weeks, we want the public to know there are no lifeguards in the towers. We ask that you stay out of the water if possible and away from the shorelines,” an Ocean Safety spokesperson said.

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