Oahu park users are disappointed (but not surprised) by shutdown

Oahu residents react to sweeping new shutdown orders on parks, beaches

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Park users on Oahu expressed disappointment Thursday over the decision to once again close parks and beaches on the island in a bid to stop the spread of COVID-19.

But many also said they understand why the action is needed.

City and state parks on Oahu are set to close at midnight Friday night through Sept. 5.

Hunter Yamada had just finished a surf session at Ala Moana Regional Park when he heard the news.

“Most of the guys in the water stay separated,” he said. “But when the beach is packed, I mean, high chance for transmission and everything.”

Park users said closing parks again, which had reopened in May, were necessary to stem the surging case numbers. They said too many took advantage, holding big gatherings that could spread the virus.

“Sad, but it’s needed I think,” said park user Al Bodine. “No one’s paying attention to the rules and the outbreak is getting out of hand.”

Mililani Mauka resident Annette Smith, who goes to the park with her husband several times a week, said the parks closure is sad news.

“But I defer to the governor because he has to deal with the fallout with all the people who might get sick and might overrun the hospitals,” she said.

“We got a pandemic, so we gotta do what we gotta do,” added Aiea resident Patrick Zarko, after getting out of the water. “If we gotta shut it down for another month, well, do it so we can come out and enjoy it.”

Surfers, swimmers and anglers will still be able to go through the park to get to the water.

Golf courses will also remain open, but not mini-golf. Team sports won’t be allowed, and swimming pools and tennis courts will be closed once again.

“We just got into a nice routine,” said tennis player Glen Hayashida. “This group that you see behind me, we get together every Thursday. And we were just commenting now, what are we gonna do, right?”

Hayashida said his group of six friends may try for one last match Friday, although he doubted he would be able to make it.

“As much as it is a disappointment, it really is understandable.”

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