Streets and beaches are now empty in the state’s no. 1 tourist destination

Updated: Mar. 25, 2020 at 11:31 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - On Wednesday morning, the state’s no. 1 tourist destination resembled a ghost town.

Few people were on the streets and traffic was non-existent. And for now, that’s expected to be the new normal as hotels and other businesses close their doors and eateries go to take-out or delivery.

At 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, the state’s stay-at-home order went into effect, mandating that all but essential activities be brought to a halt.

Ahead of the order, tourism to the state has all but stopped.

And on Thursday, it’s expected to take another hit, when a mandatory, 14-day quarantine for visitors and returning residents goes into effect.

Resident Regina Naylor was in Waikiki on Wednesday morning and called the eerie silence “strange.”

“It’s very quiet,” she said. “I haven’t seen it like this for decades.”

Resident J.R. Wierman agreed.

He said the empty streets and sidewalks looked like something out of a disaster movie.

“It is totally apocalyptic. It’s lacking energy," he said.

“Usually you come out here there’s aloha. There’s people everywhere. There’s activity,” he said.

"Now, people are consumed by fear and when you see them people are just coming across fear-driven, angry and upset and there is just no aloha whatsoever.”

Sophia Cardoza was one of few tourists in Waikiki on Wednesday.

The California resident said the streets seems lonely. “It is peaceful but it’s spring break and to see the beaches at spring break empty, it’s amazing," she said.

"I come here once a year and I’m used to seeing Hawaii and the beaches full of people and kids playing and we didn’t get that much of that this year. It’s just sad, it’s sad.”

Many worry what the empty hotels and closed up shops will mean for the long term.

Meanwhile, those who call the streets of Waikiki home say they’re concerned that Hawaii’s homeless population will have to fend for itself.

Darryl Sneed, who is homeless in Waikiki, said he hasn’t gotten any information about where to go for help. “I don’t think they’re doing much at all," he said.

As people get accustomed to the stay-at-home order, authorities are reminding residents that it’s OK to leave your home for groceries, essential work or even to take a walk or go surfing.

The order is in effect through April 30.

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