Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Hawai‘i County to Reopen All Beaches Tuesday, Assuming Approval From Governor

May 18, 2020, 4:46 PM HST
* Updated May 18, 5:00 PM
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World Oceans Day at Hāpuna Beach State Recreation Area. PC: www.worldoceansday.org

Barring unlikely circumstances, Hawai‘i County beaches will reopen islandwide beginning Tuesday.

Mayor Harry Kim will soon be unveiling his Rule Number 5, which will officially reopen the County’s beach parks once approved by the governor. That approval is expected within the next 24 hours.

The mayor’s rule also states permitted activities that may occur at these facilities, which will be in compliance with CDC guidelines that limit congregating groups to 10 people or fewer. Specific guidelines on the number of people allowed to congregate and any other qualifications will be expressly outlined in the mayor’s rule.

“These beach parks are being reopened for your enjoyment and your wellbeing,” Kim said in a press release. “Please keep up the safe practices of social distancing that helped us get to where we are today.”

Mayor Kim told Big Island Now Monday that several districts on the Big Island have gone three to four weeks since reporting an active case of coronavirus. Two new active cases of COVID-19 reported over the last few days slowed the decision to reopen beaches, which the counties of Honolulu and Maui began allowing Saturday.

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Kim said that once he found out those cases were both linked to travel — one person who’d visited Los Angeles for a short time, and another who’d made several stops, including a stop in Los Angeles — he felt comfortable moving forward with the reopening of beaches islandwide.

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“We had no active cases here prior to those two,” the mayor said. “You don’t want to take any risks.”

The news comes just hours after Gov. David Ige announced the extension of the state’s mandatory, 14-day travel quarantine, which includes interisland travel, and that “medium risk” businesses such as gyms and indoor dining options at restaurants can begin to reopen in June.

The only exceptions to the reopenings, assuming they are approved by the governor, are Hakalau Beach Park and Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole Park, which have been closed due to necessary improvement work. The mayor is working with the Department of Parks and Recreation to determine the next phase of county facilities to reopen, such as tennis courts and pickleball courts.

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Although the county beach parks will likely reopen, the threat of COVID-19 is still present. The mayor said that all beachgoers must follow the safe practices stated in the CDC guidelines and Hawai‘i County Rules.

“Know the importance of staying mentally, physically and (socially) healthy with these rules,” the Mayor said.

A list of beaches set to reopen and ordered by district is as follows:

Puna

  • Kahakai Park
  • Isaac Kepo‘okalani Hale Beach Park

South Hilo

  • Honoli‘i Beach Park
  • Kolekole Gulch Park
  • Carlsmith Beach Park
  • Happiness Gardens
  • Hilo Bayfront Beach Park
  • James Kealoha Beach Park
  • Kanakea Pond
  • Lehia Beach Park
  • Leleiwi Beach Park
  • Wai‘olena Beach Park
  • Wai‘uli Beach Park
  • Lili‘uokalani Gardens
  • Mokuola
  • Onekahakeha Beach Park
  • Reeds Bay Beach Park
  • Richardson Ocean Park

North Hilo

  • Laupāhoehoe Pt. Beach Park
  • Hāmākua
  • Waipi‘o Lookout

North Kohala

  • Kapa‘a Beach Park
  • Kēōkea Beach Park
  • Māhukona Beach Park
  • Māhukona Wharf

South Kohala

  • Kawaihae Canoe Area
  • Spencer Park at ‘Ōhai‘ula Beach

North Kona

  • Kahalu‘u Beach Park
  • Kuemanu Heiau
  • La‘aloa Bay Beach Park
  • Magic Sands Beach Park
  • Pāhoehoe Beach Park
  • Wai‘aha Bay Beach Park
  • Kailua Park
  • Kohanaiki Beach Park (Reaching out to Kohanaiki for their input)

South Kona

  • Ho‘okena Beach Park
  • Manini Point
  • Miloli‘i Beach Park

Ka‘ū

  • Kawa Bay
  • Honu‘apo
  • Whittington Beach Park

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