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Kokua Line: Honolulu County’s swimming pool shutdown doesn’t apply to residential condominiums, city says

Question: Do condominium sundecks, pools and barbecue areas have to shut down as part of Honolulu County’s new lockdown proclamation? Our condo has distancing and crowd-control rules, but shut down usage because of the new proclamation, which I understood to be for state and city and county public places. Did they also mean that residential condo pools must be shut down too?

Answer: No. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell clarified Monday that the “Act With Care — Do Not Gather,” order that took effect Saturday does not shut down swimming pools at residential condominium buildings, although pandemic-era safety rules must be enforced. Those include requiring face masks (not while in the pool), maintaining physical distance of 6 feet from anyone not in your household, and limiting the size of any social gathering to 10 people or fewer.

You are mistaken, though, that the sweeping emergency order applies only to government facilities. Numerous private enterprises are affected, including swimming pools at hotels and athletic clubs, which are closed, as the mayor affirmed Monday. Pools in public parks also are closed, as you knew. Read the whole proclamation at 808ne.ws/actwcare.

It’s understandable that your condominium board interpreted the proclamation as it did, given the broad language in Exhibit A Item No. 9, which states, “Outdoor sport fields, courts, open areas, and pools for individual or small group activities which includes public and private outdoor sport fields, courts, open areas, pools, and similar facilities (“Outdoor Facilities”) were previously allowed to open and operate. However, due to ongoing and heightened public health concerns linked to gatherings and the spread of COVID-19, effective immediately and until further notice, the above-cited must close and may not operate within the City.”

You are one of numerous readers who has asked about this, hoping not to lose a form of exercise that keeps you at home under well-controlled circumstances, since your building restricts the number of people using the pool at any given time.

Alexander Zannes, a spokesman for the mayor’s office, said the city also had received questions directly. City attorneys advised that pools at residential condominium buildings should be treated the same as swimming pools at single-family homes, which their private owners are allowed to use, he said. “The condo pools are allowed because it’s the same idea as a pool at a single-family home, but with multiple owners,” he said.

Commercial use, such as for party rentals, is not allowed.

Kokua Line is a getting a lot of questions about exactly what is and isn’t allowed under the latest Honolulu County proclamation, so we’ll again point readers to oneoahu.org, a county website that explains the practical effects of many of the pandemic-era rules.

While certain provisions may be murky, the spirit of the “Act with Care — Do Not Gather” order is clear: As much as you can, stay home.

Q: So are we back to the old rule now where you can walk across the beach to get in the water, but can’t linger on the beach or in the park?

A: Yes. As in the previous question, the risk of catching COVID-19 is associated with being in close contact with people outside your household, not swimming in a pool or the ocean.

Q: What is the number to call when you see big groups hanging out at the beach? It’s still happening at night.

A: You may call the Honolulu Police Department at 723-3900 or email hpd covidenforce@honolulu.gov.

Auwe

On Sunday I walked on Anania Street in Mililani. I encountered a couple walking side by side on the sidewalk with no masks on. Auwe to this couple; they forced a kupuna to walk on the road to avoid contact. Most walkers in Mililani are courteous; if two people are walking astride, one falls back to provide room for the oncoming pedestrian. — Mililani walker


Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email kokualine@staradvertiser.com.


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