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Nonresidents need permits to use Kauai beaches in island’s latest coronavirus social distancing effort

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                                Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami


    Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami signed an emergency rule today requiring nonresidents to obtain a day-usage permit for all Kauai County beach parks, adding to the county’s efforts to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 illness.

The permits will be $5 per person and will be required for all nonresidents, regardless of age. Only 100 permits will be issued by the Department of Parks and Recreation per beach park per day. Additionally, a $50 parking fee per vehicle per day is required, and proof of payment must be displayed on the vehicle’s windshield.

“I am concerned that visitors at our beach parks are not exercising social distancing as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control,” Kawakami said in a news release. “This emergency rule helps work toward ensuring our community spaces can be used by our residents to engage in activities to maintain their mental health during this difficult time.”

As of today there are 48 cases of the illness in Hawaii, including three on Kauai.

Department of Parks and Recreation rangers will enforce the rule via spot checks. Nonresidents without the permit can be charged with a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine up to $5,000 and prison time as long as one year.

Kawakami’s emergency rule followed an announcement by Gov. David Ige earlier today that would require nearly everyone arriving in Hawaii to undergo a 14-day quarantine.

“While we support the recently-announced mandatory 14-day quarantine by Governor David Ige, visitors are still allowed to travel to Kauai and many remain on island,” Kawakami said. “Our residents and local businesses have worked hard to follow current guidelines, and are understandably frustrated when they see visitors at our parks and beaches blatantly disregarding social distancing and other enhanced health measures. This rule will help to ensure proper social distancing in our shared public spaces.”

Residents using beach parks must carry proof of residency.

Kawakami on Wednesday announced a mandatory curfew for the entire island of Kauai that lasts from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily. The curfew, which took effect Friday, has been more or less followed, according to the Kauai Police Department. It said in a news release that officers observed no violations of the curfew during the first night it became effective.

“This tells us that you are serious about preserving the health of our community members and stopping the spread of COVID-19. We want to express our extreme gratitude to the community for abiding by this new curfew; we couldn’t do this without the cooperation of the public,” said Todd Raybuck, Kauai police chief. “As we have said before, this is an unprecedented time, and while it might not be apparent right now, these actions will benefit the community immensely and preserve the lives of many.”

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