Police are issuing more warnings than citations for violations of stay-at-home orders.
Honolulu police issued 1,500 warnings, 180 citations for emergency law violations and made nine arrests under the orders to promote social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We want to get voluntary compliance,” Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said Tuesday at Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s news conference. We don’t want to have to cite or arrest them.”
The arrests were for traffic and park closure violations. Most citations and warnings were for park closure violations, Ballard said.
All cited were either uncooperative or had been previously warned, police said.
On Kauai, police made the first arrest in Hawaii for a violation of the 14-day quarantine for visitors arriving after March 25. A 62-year-old Tampa, Fla., man staying at a Kapaa hotel was stopped in Hanalei, then arrested and charged Tuesday with a misdemeanor. He was released on $100 bail.
Kauai has a strict 9 p.m. curfew and has checkpoints set up. Kauai police issued six criminal citations for curfew violations and one for running a nonessential cosmetic business.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii urged Hawaii’s police chiefs to refrain from custodial arrest to enforce restrictions related to COVID-19, saying it is an unsuitable public health response and should be the last resort.
Stay-at-home orders may be difficult for those with no residence or who have underlying medical or mental health conditions.
Ballard said police do not cite for having no local address, but do for park closure violations.
Honolulu police said they do not keep track of the numbers, but some cited provided no home address.
Hawaii County police Maj. Sam Jelsma said, “We are not targeting the homeless with this ordinance, and if they were cited or arrested for this offense, it would likely be due to the fact that a police response was necessary due to a crime or disturbance.”
His department has 13 violations (five arrests, six citations, two cases) so far.
Police are having to quell false rumors that Honolulu police were stopping people and requiring them to provide a letter to show they are essential workers, Ballard said.