HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - City and state parks and beaches on Oahu will be closed at midnight Friday as government officials try to prevent people from gathering and spreading COVID-19.
The closures, which extend to Sept. 5, represent a major step back from Hawaii’s reopening plan.
Here’s a look at the new rules:
- All city and state parks and their parking lots on Oahu will be closed.
- Beaches will also be closed and no activities will be allowed on the beach. People will be allowed to traverse the beach to get to the water for ocean activities.
- Also closed: Hiking trails, campgrounds and botanical gardens.
- City pools and pools at private clubs will also be shuttered along with tennis clubs.
- Golf courses will remain open, but mini-golf facilities will have to close.
- All team sports in all parks are suspended.
- All bowling alleys and arcades will have to close.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the shutdowns, included in a new “Act with Care, Do Not Gather” emergency order, are aimed at stopping people from congregating in large groups with no masks.
He said fitness centers would be allowed to remain open, but could not hold group classes.
“What’s open is things we can control and where we’ve seen compliance,” he said.
State Health Department Director Bruce Anderson said “a number” of COVID-19 cases have been connected to large gatherings at parks but he could not offer an estimate.
“The county has focused on these uncontrolled gatherings,” he said. “We think that’s one of the most likely sources of exposure” in cases where someone doesn’t know where they caught the virus.
He did say the closures were needed to slow the rapid spread of coronavirus on Oahu.
Also Thursday, the governor said he planned to reinstate a mandatory, 14-day quarantine on inter-island travelers. That order is set to go into effect Tuesday.
This story will be updated.