Hawaii County COVID rules approved; parks to remain open with restrictions

  • Laaloa Bay Beach Park, also known as Magic Sands and Disappearing Sands Beach Park, is typically packed nearly every day with visitors and residents alike. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

Hawaii County parks and recreational facilities will remain open under a new emergency rule but restrictions will be in place.

Mayor Mitch Roth, who last week proposed more stringent restrictions aimed at curbing the surge of COVID-19 cases in Hawaii County, announced the new rules during a press conference Friday morning.


Emergency rule 17 initially called for the closure of the county’s parks facilities, including beach and shoreline parks.

However, the final language, which was approved this week by Gov. David Ige, allows the parks to remain open, although indoor and outdoor groups will be limited to no more than 10 people, park pavilions are closed and canopies and pop-up tents are prohibited.

Each group must maintain at least 20 feet of separation and mingling between members of separate groups is not allowed.

Camping in groups greater than 10 is not allowed and any permits that exceed that limit are canceled.

Face coverings also will be required at the Panaewa Rainforest Zoo and Gardens, except while eating or drinking. The zoo’s pavilion, playground and petting zoo are closed.

Additionally, the rule prohibits indoor and outdoor social gatherings of more than 10 people.

Roth said the rules take effect immediately and the county will ramp up enforcement efforts “to ensure the safety of our community.”

Hawaii Police Department officers have been given authority to issue $250 citations to those found in violation of any COVID-19 rules outlined in the emergency rule

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