Honolulu police have issued 70 citations and made two arrests for violating the stay-at-home orders put in place to try to slow the spread of the new 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 Thursday 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.
Meanwhile, the Kauai Police Department deployed checkpoints around that island Thursday to enforce the stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. David Ige. The Kauai checkpoints are designed to limit people’s movements to control the spread of the coronavirus.
“While our hope is that people willingly stay home to help protect the health and safety of our collective community, unfortunately some bad apples will always ruin the bunch, and enforcement is necessary,” said Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami in a Facebook post Thursday. “Remember, this is for our kupuna, and for those who are most vulnerable.”
In a written statement announcing the Kauai checkpoints, Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said, “It is urgent that our community respond to this pandemic and comply with these orders. 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 said there are no immediate plans to run similar checkpoints on Oahu, and Big Isle Police Chief Paul Ferreira said checkpoints would not be practical on his island.
“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 responsibilities right now given the other challenges that they face is not something we’re considering,” Caldwell said of the checkpoints.
However, Honolulu police did issue dozens of citations to enforce the governor’s stay-home order. One of the unlucky recipients was Kelli Hergert, 49, who was stopped as she walked her dog across a closed Kahala park at about 2:30 p.m. Thursday. A police officer was ticketing two skateboarders on the other side and stopped her as well, she said.
“I really felt like that was unnecessary, and I was a little shocked that I didn’t get a warning,” said Hergert. “It wasn’t even a sense that there was going to be a warning; it was citation all the way.”
The officer also gave her a bit of a scolding, telling her that “you are the reason that this 14 days keeps getting reset.” In fact, Ige’s stay-at-home order does not expire until April 30.
“And then you see these photos the lines at Costco and everywhere else, and there’s people in the beach parks and in the neighborhood. I’m not saying it excuses anything, but it’s confusing,” she said.
On Hawaii island, Ferreira said 43-year-old Carissa Glende was arrested at about 6 a.m. Thursday for violation of a protective order in connection with a 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.