Honolulu police have issued 70 citations and made two arrests for violating the stay-at-home orders put in place to try to to slow the spread of the coronavirus, with most of those people cited in public parks after ignoring officers’ instructions to leave, according to a police spokeswoman.
Arrests were made at a park in Waipahu and another in Kaneohe, and Hawaii County police also reported arresting and charging a Kailua-Kona woman early today for violating the state stay-at-home order. Violating the order is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.
The Kauai Police Department planned to establish checkpoints around that island starting this morning to enforce the stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. David Ige and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami.
“It is urgent that our community respond to this pandemic and comply with these orders,” said Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said in a written announcement of the Kauai checkpoints. “If this isn’t taken seriously, our small island’s healthcare system will not be able to withstand community spread of the virus. Please, stay at home and do your part for the wellbeing of our community.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says there are no immediate plans to run similar checkpoints on Oahu, and Hawaii island Police Chief Paul Ferreira also said checkpoints would not be practical on his island.
The Kauai checkpoints are designed to limit people’s movements to control the spread of the coronavirus, and Caldwell said each island has taken a different approach to enforcing the orders limiting the movements of residents based on the specific circumstances of each county.
“Kauai is a small island, there’s basically one road around the island, it’s easy to do checkpoints because of that,” Caldwell said. “Oahu has almost a million people, there are many different roads and we have a limited number of police officers who are out there every day making sure that laws are followed, and there are additional pressures on them now.”
“They are out there enforcing and warning people to comply, and what I hear from the chief is that they are complying, so to add this to their their responsibilities right now given the other challenges that they face is not something we’re considering,” Caldwell said of the checkpoints.
He added that “we’ll look at everything and anything to make sure that people are being safe, that they’re making good judgment on where they should be and when, and that they’re practicing social distancing. Everyone should be taking everything government is asking of them extremely seriously in order to really pound down the spread of this virus.
Ferreira said 43-year-old Carissa Glende was arrested at about 6 a.m. today for violation of a protective order in connection with the child custody dispute, and police added on the misdemeanor charge of violation of the governor’s emergency proclamation.
“It’s not that we went out looking for it, but because this person was arrested for another crime and they’re out where they’re not supposed to be, we added that as a second charge,” Ferreira said.