HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With new rules in place further restricting people from gathering on sandy shorelines, beaches were fairly empty for a beautiful Saturday in Hawaii.
But not completely.
Under Gov. Ige’s latest proclamation, all shorelines are closed. People are not allowed to sit, run, walk, sunbathe or lounge on the beach. Ige’s order is stricter than the county’s rules previously set in place which allowed for people to run and workout on the sand.
The ocean is the safe zone. You can cross the sand to get to the water for exercise. Surfers and swimmers, however must maintain social distancing.
On Saturday, the DLNR said that DOCARE officers were out enforcing the enhanced rules. A handful of people on Waimanalo shores were informed about the changes and as of Friday, the DLNR said 80 citations were given out statewide for closed area violations.
Waimanalo neighborhood board member Kukana Kama-Toth shared her Facebook Live video with Hawaii News Now Saturday calling out people violating the state’s rules prohibiting activities on the sand.
She noted families and friends gathering at Kaiona Beach in Waimanalo. Watch her video below:
It’s not yet known how many citations were given out, if any, to those seen in the video.
Kama-Toth added that its not about restricting access to the beach. In fact, community members often advocate for open shores, but she says it’s about keeping people safe and opening it up when it is the right time to do so. She worries additional restrictions will be put in place because of irresponsible actions of a few people.
In the coming days, you may be seeing more officers on ATVs enforcing the rules at beaches across the state.
At Diamond Head, Pipeline, Waikiki and Ala Moana Beach Park on Friday, many people were unknowingly violating the new orders while watching the sunset sitting on the beach.
"It needs to be stricter. I can tell you there's still a lot of people out on the beach! I don't even think people are listening to be honest with you," said Vinny Nguyen.
Governor Ige says county police departments across the state will enforce the new rules.
"We will be augmenting that activity with the national guard persons as appropriate," said Ige.
Also on Saturday, lines at stores like Home Depot were significantly longer than usual despite the stay-at-home order, which remains in place until April 30. Home Depot is among the stores deemed essential.
Honolulu residents have mixed reactions to the new rules.
“I think it’s a little too hard to enforce. I understand why it’s necessary but to go to those lengths to try to stop it, I think it’s a little too much,” said Trevor Ozaki said about enforcing rules on the beaches.
Other residents say more needs to be done.
"I don't think it's been strong enough. As I exercise almost every day, I just don't see that the enforcement is strong enough right now," said Chad Johnston.
There are new rules for other outdoor activities. The Governor says no more than two unrelated people are allowed to hike, fish or go boating together and must stay 20-feet apart.
“This is necessary in order to try and flatten the curve of coronavirus infections, so life can begin to return to normal in Hawai‘i,” said DLNR Chair Suzanne Case and DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla.
The enhanced restrictions remain in effect through April 30. Violators face fines of up to $5,000 or up to a year in jail.