Mayor extends stay-at-home order, but reopens parks and beaches for solo activities

Published: Sep. 9, 2020 at 9:40 AM HST|Updated: Sep. 9, 2020 at 9:44 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell is extending Oahu’s stay-at-home order for two more weeks ― through Sept. 23 ― but will reopen parks and beaches for individual activities.

The new order, which takes effect Thursday, means that non-essential businesses will remain closed.

The list of non-essential businesses includes retailers, salons and gyms. Restaurants can only offer takeout. And social gatherings of any type continue to be banned.

[To read the new order, click here.]

At a news conference, Caldwell said he believes reopening parks, beaches and trails to individual activities but not social gatherings, is a positive step toward a “cautious” reopening. The list of permissible solo activities at parks and beaches includes walking or jogging, lounging and sunbathing and fishing.

“The one thing we’re not going to do a second time is rush to reopen and then have a second spike,” Caldwell said. “We’re going to be much more cautious, much more conservative.”

“We’re starting off very carefully,” Caldwell added, and said he will be discussing details on how the economy will reopen in the coming days. He added he doesn’t want a repeat of the surge Oahu saw in late July and much of August, as new infections soared amid rapid community spread.

The mayor’s second shutdown order went into effect Aug. 27, closing non-essential businesses and banning all non-essential activities. The mayor had hoped to lift the order after two weeks.

But Caldwell said Oahu needs to see a sustained decline in new infections before the stay-at-home order is lifted. On Tuesday, there were 66 new cases reported statewide, the lowest daily count since Aug. 2.

As of Monday, however, the seven-day average for new infections in Hawaii was 213.

There were also more than 6,800 active cases statewide.

Gov. David Ige said the “flattening” of the number of new infections in Hawaii is encouraging. “But we are still not where we need to be,” he said, adding he realizes that the stay-at-home mandate has required incredible sacrifices from many — and has had dire economic impacts to thousands of families.

Oahu’s second shutdown has prompted more layoffs and left many small businesses worried about how much longer they’ll be able to stay afloat. Officials said it was a necessary sacrifice to protect public health.

“We would like to see retail opened up all the way. We are not one of the hot spots and you know we make sure people social distance. It’s not where people gather around," Tina Yamaki, President of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii, said.

“It’s kind of like we’re being punished for other people’s mistakes and what they’re not doing to social distance. Like I said from the beginning we made sure we had all of the personal protection equipment placed in,” she added.

Read the full text of the latest order below:

This story will be updated.

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