Oahu residents concerned that they lack a safe place to ride out Hurricane Douglas began checking into “last resort” emergency shelters on the island this morning.
Thirteen shelters opened at 9 a.m. across Hawaii’s most populous island.
The shelters are expected to see more arrivals as the day goes on, though some people began checking in when the facilities opened.
Hurricane Douglas had 90 mph maximum sustained winds and higher gusts shortly before the shelters opened, and was located about 185 miles east of Honolulu and about 90 miles east of Kahului, according to the Central Pacific Hurricane Center.
City officials and the American Red Cross are operating the shelters on Oahu, which is a departure from the past when the Red Cross typically handled such operations.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Red Cross has faced a 70% decline in volunteers. So to staff the shelters, the city Department of Parks and Recreation is helping.
“We’ve really done a good job having all hands on deck,” said Nathan Serota, a spokesman for the agency.
Serota said the shelters should be a last resort for people only if they feel their own shelter is not safe.
All shelters accept pets, according to the city.
All shelters also have requirements that occupants wear masks at all times when not eating, sleeping or drinking during their stay, though exceptions will be made for those with medical conditions. Masks will be available at the shelter, but other supplies including food, water, bedding and hand sanitizer need to be brought by those staying at the facilities.
To further guard against the spread of COVID-19, temperature checks are required for all visitors and staff. Also, social distancing will be in effect, and a separate room will be available as a quarantine area for anyone with the virus or symptoms.
At the shelter at Niu Valley Middle School in east Oahu, National Guard personnel were conducting temperature checks.
The city also is coordinating with homeless outreach providers to provide transportation to shelters using city buses. This service will be available until 12:30 p.m. so that buses can be off the road by 1 p.m.
HERE IS a list of shelters open on Oahu and on Maui, Molokai and Lanai:
>> Central Mililani High School, 95-1200 Meheula Parkway
>> Central Moanalua High School, 2825 Ala Ilima St.
>> Central Waialua High and Intermediate, 67-160 Farrington Hwy.
>> Hawaii Convention Center, 1801 Kalakaua Ave.
>> Niu Valley Middle School, 310 Halemaumau St.
>> Campbell High School, 91-980 North Road
>> Leihoku Elmentary School, 86-285 Leihoku St.
>> Nanakuli High and Intermediate, 89-980 Nanakuli Ave
>> Pearl City High School, 2100 Hookiekie St
>> Castle High School, 45-386 Kaneohe Bay Dr.
>> Kalaheo High School, 730 Iliaina St.
>> King Intermediate School, 46-155 Kamehameha Hwy.
>> Pope Elementary School, 41-133 Huli St.
>> Maui High School (pet friendly site)
>> South Maui Community Park Gymnasium (pet friendly)
>> King Kekaulike High School (pet friendly site)
>> Lahaina Intermediate School
>> Hana High School
>> Molokai High School
>> Lanai High School (pet friendly site)