A bill that bans people from sitting or lying down at four Chinatown and downtown Honolulu pedestrian malls was signed into law by Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Wednesday.
Introduced by area Councilwoman Carol Fukunaga, the measure is designed to complement a law Caldwell signed in December that makes it a violation to sit or lie on sidewalks in about a dozen business districts throughout Oahu. Downtown and Chinatown merchants complained that the sidewalk sit-lie ordinance was pushing more people into the malls, blocking the entrance ways to their businesses.
Included in the new law are Kekaulike and Sun Yat-Sen malls in Chinatown, and Fort Street and Union malls downtown.
City officials said that since enforcement began in mid-December, Honolulu police officers have issued only 10 citations and three arrests, along with 964 warnings, for the sit-lie bill in Chinatown and downtown.
Critics of the sit-lie laws say they unfairly discriminate against the homeless, and that they only serve to push the population into areas where it is not a violation to sit or lie.