Governor David Ige today, issued a Fifth Supplementary Proclamation to his Emergency Rules. This one includes limitations on activities outside homes or places of residence and closes all beaches in Hawai‘i. It became clear that many people are continuing to access beaches, waters, and trails for social and recreational activities without proper social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis. Such activity contributes to the risk of spread of coronavirus across the state.
Under these new rules, all beaches are closed, which means no sitting, standing, lying down, lounging, sunbathing, or loitering on beaches and sandbars. People can still cross beaches to access the ocean for outdoor exercise like surfing, solo paddling and swimming as long as social distances are maintained.
DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We encouraged more severe restrictions after our law enforcement officers (DOCARE) and many people noted large groups of people continuing to congregate on beaches in close proximity to one another. Social distancing requirements are necessary for all of us to practice until COVID-19 is brought under control here in Hawai‘i. The Fifth Supplementary Proclamation does include exceptions which will allow people to still get outside and enjoy nature.”
The emergency rules also contain provisions for boating, fishing, and hiking. No more than two people are allowed on any boat in Hawai‘i’s water for recreational purposes, unless they are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. Both people on the boat are required to maintain physical distancing of six-feet from one another, as is reasonably possible. All boats are required to stay 20-feet from one another.
Group hiking on State trails is not allowed, again unless all participants are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. People who want to hike alone, but who want to have another person nearby for safety reasons, are required to maintain a distance of not less than 20-feet from each other.
People can actively engage in fishing and gathering to get food. No groups of two or more people can engage in fishing and gathering in state waters or state lands unless all in the group are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address.
DLNR is calling on each individual to take personal responsibility to limit the impact they have on their community and self-exposure to essential activities only. If you feel the need to hike, it’s recommended that you first check the Na Ala Hele website (https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/) for trail updates, and then the Center of Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus) and Hawai‘i Department of Health (https://health.hawaii.gov/coronavirusdisease2019/) for the most up to date guidelines for personal safety and distancing requirements.
Certain DLNR-managed coastal and trail features are deemed unsuitable for visitation due to the inability to achieve the desired social distancing recommendations, the remoteness of location exacerbating public safety concerns, and known history of issues such as illegal camping and social gatherings. Please try to stay in or near your own ahupua‘a of residence for your outdoor exercise. For a complete list of closed state parks visit: http://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dsp/
Violations of the emergency rules are a petty misdemeanor and could result in fines of up to $5,000 and one year in jail, or both.