The mayor explains why beaches are closed but gyms are not

Updated: Aug. 18, 2020 at 4:30 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The governor instituted new restrictions on Oahu gatherings Tuesday, but stopped short of broader mandates aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

He said targeting private gatherings, by limiting any group inside or out to five, makes sense.

And, he and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell argued, that’s why parks and beaches remain closed on Oahu but gyms are still open.

The logic: Gyms can regulate patrons and make sure they’re wearing masks.

Gov. David Ige acknowledged a dearth of data linking activity at beaches and parks to clusters of coronavirus cases.

But he said that in many cases, people who tested positive recalled attending an outdoor gathering.

Later in the day, the Health Department also released new details on clusters on Oahu in recent weeks, noting that “multiple household and other clusters” were associated with house and beach parties, holiday gatherings, and other social events in which people weren’t social distancing or wearing masks.

(Worth noting: There have also been clusters associated with gyms.)

At a news conference Tuesday, Caldwell appeared irked when asked whether allowing gyms to stay open while keeping parks and beaches closed was a financial decision rather than one based on science.

“What we’ve done is try to control unregulated, large outdoor gatherings,” he said. “Where there’s gatherings outdoors, where there’s no regulation in place, we’ve shut those down.”

He continued: “As to whether we’re doing this for some business reason, I can’t believe that would even be asked. We’re doing this for health reasons. To think that we’re taking action based on business reasons is so far left field. No actions by the City and County of Honolulu have been taken for business reasons.”

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