State officials say since reopening last week, the bathrooms at its small boat harbors have been vandalized, and that people have stolen all of the toilet paper.
The state Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) reopened public restrooms at its small boat harbors and boat ramps on March 27 in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance to ensure that toilets and hand washing facilities be available to the homeless during the COVID-19 emergency.
Since then, officials said, there has been vandalism, destruction, and criminal activities that have scared away individuals that were trying to use them.
“Toilet paper has been stolen from all bathrooms and almost all have had their dispensers broken,” said Ed Underwood, DOBOR administrator, in a news release. “On Maui, all harbor restrooms have been vandalized with graffiti and worse on the walls.”
At least one restroom facility had to be closed after the toilet was stuffed with materials, officials said.
The exception is in Waianae, where community groups such as Pu’uhonua o Wai’anae and Hui Aloha — which asked DOBOR to open its bathrooms — have offered to help maintain them. The groups have set up bathroom brigades to curb vandalism, and make sure they are stocked with supplies.
Due to vandalism at night, however, the state will be closing the Waianae restrooms at 4 p.m. daily.
State officials warned that if the rate of destruction and shortages of overall supplies — including cleaners, toilet paper and personal protection equipment for staff continues — then it may not be able to keep the boat harbor bathrooms open through April 30 unless community groups volunteer to step in to help maintain them.
Any community groups interested in helping to maintain state bathrooms should contact the Behavioral Health and Homelessness Statewide Unified Response Group.