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Honolulu mayor to allow indoor gatherings of over 50 people as city prepares hurricane shelters

  • Courtesy Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell

    Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell discusses hurricane preparations as Hurricane Douglas approaches Hawaii.

  • CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a press conference to address preparations as Hurricane Douglas approaches the islands.

    CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell held a press conference to address preparations as Hurricane Douglas approaches the islands.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell signed an emergency proclamation today that will allow indoor gatherings to exceed 50 people as the city prepares to open shelters in response to Hurricane Douglas.

At a news conference livestreamed from the Emergency Operations Center at the Frank F. Fasi Municipal Building, Caldwell said they plan to open up to 25 shelters where evacuees will undergo temperature taking and screened for symptoms associated with COVID-19.

Caldwell noted he is depending on the state to identify a separate location where individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 can seek shelter. “We know they are trying to locate and pin down a hotel to do exactly that. When that is identified, we will be announcing that also,” he added.

The new changes to indoor gathering rules comes as the state marked a daily record of 60 new coronavirus cases today.

Caldwell urged residents to shelter in place this weekend and to secure and protect their property. “If it’s safe, stay at home,” he said. If residents are unable to stay at home, he recommended to seek shelter at a family member, neighbor or friend’s residence.

“If you can’t find such a location, then go to one of the city-provided shelters,” he said.

Shelter locations are expected to be announced Saturday. The public may also check the Department of Emergency Management website Saturday at honolulu.gov/dem for shelter information.

Evacuees are advised to bring bedding and a 14-day supply of food, water and medicine. Officials also recommend individuals to bring a sufficient amount of face coverings and sanitizing supplies.

Evacuees who plan to bring household pets must keep their pets in a pet carrier or cage.

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The city will coordinate with social service providers to assist the homeless population to include free transportation services to shelters.

With the influx of new coronavirus cases, Caldwell urged the public to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves as they prepare for the storm. “Take this as serious as possible,” he said.

The American Red Cross of Hawaii is seeking volunteers including healthcare professionals to help at shelters.

Those interested in becoming a volunteer may call 739-8122 or visit: redcross.org/hawaii.

The city activated the Emergency Operations Center this morning. Hirokazu “Hiro” Toiya, director of the Honolulu Emergency Management, said the center will remain activated throughout the duration of the storm.

Caldwell said: “Hurricane Douglas is expected to weaken but remains on track to pose a serious threat to Oahu. This weekend, beginning tomorrow night, we could see heavy rain and strong winds. We’ll continue to keep our full attention focused on Douglas throughout the evening, and proceed with full activation of the Emergency Operations Center later this weekend.”

The public is urged to stay informed with local news sources on updates concerning Hurricane Douglas.

“We are asking everyone to pay attention to any alerts overnight. Take the time to check on your loved ones and make sure they have everything they need to remain safe and healthy and please reevaluate your situation often as things may change very quickly over the next few days,” Caldwell added.

The city also announced the following closures:

• All city beach parks including shoreline beach parks such as Ala Moana Beach Park and Kualoa Regional Park will be closed Sunday. City officials will determine whether beach closures need to be extended based on weather forecast models in the coming days.

• All city camping permits will be suspended beginning today through Wednesday. The city has 16 campgrounds that contain 87 campsites. Individuals with camping permits will receive an email and qualify for a permit fee refund.

• All permitted park events that include picnics and sports events and competitions are canceled Sunday and Monday

• Honolulu Zoo will be closed Sunday. The zoo is normally closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

• Honolulu Botanical Gardens, Koko Head Shooting Complex and city pools will be closed Sunday and Monday

• People’s Open Markets will be closed Sunday and Monday

• Municipal golf courses will be closed Sunday and Monday

• Summer Fun Program is canceled Monday.

For more information on hurricane preparedness, visit honolulu.gov/dem.

Proclamation of Emergency … by Honolulu Star-Advertiser on Scribd

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