Beaches and parks from Waimanalo to Waianae appeared uncharacteristically quiet on Labor Day — a sign that Oahu residents were heeding the call to refrain from traditional holiday gatherings amid triple- digit daily COVID-19 cases and continuing deaths.
But two men were arrested Monday at the Waianae Mall for allegedly violating the island’s stay-at-home order.
The entrances to Oahu beaches were blocked or locked, and Sanda Sanchez and her sister and their families were not able to enjoy Maili Beach Park under the shade of a canopy as usual.
So the families went down to the ocean to jump in, as is allowed under Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “Stay Home/Work From Home” order that is scheduled to expire Wednesday.
During a normal three-day holiday, Sanchez said, “Maili Beach is usually packed.” Afterward, they dried off and spent part of the afternoon petting a herd of horses on the mauka side of Farrington Highway.
Most of the beach parks lining the Leeward Coast had long stretches void of people, similar to other beaches and parks across Oahu.
Dozens of vehicles lined Ala Moana Boulevard, and several people carried surfboards across the park to get to the water. The same thing happened at Kailua Beach Park, where some people carried kayaks across the park.
In Waimanalo, Drew Thomas spent the day at his friend’s house along the water’s edge, next to a public path to get to the strip of beach.
Attendance, especially for a holiday weekend, “is down, but it seems like people are really good about wearing masks,” Thomas said. “I even saw some people fishing while wearing masks. Having the lockdown over the weekend is probably beneficial.”
The stay-at-home, work-from-home order went into effect Aug. 27 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, which has produced a run of triple-digit cases on Oahu.
The order followed the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays, which have been blamed for a second surge of COVID-19 cases on the mainland and on Oahu, raising fears that more cases could break out following the Labor Day holiday.
It represented stark new rules for Oahu residents accustomed to enjoying holiday weekends in large gatherings, whether indoors or outside.
“Indoor and outdoor social gatherings of any type and any number of people are prohibited,” according to the order. “For purposes of this order, a ‘social gathering’ is a gathering or event that brings together persons from multiple households or living units at the same time for a discrete, shared or group experience in a single room, space, or place such as a private home, park, auditorium, stadium, arena, conference room, lunch room, meeting hall, or other indoor or outdoor space.”
But there are several exceptions, including to cross shuttered parks to enjoy ocean activities.
Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in an email before the Labor Day weekend that COVID-19 “enforcement teams will be working over the weekend. … HPD is asking the public to voluntarily comply with the emergency order for everyone’s health and well-being.”
Honolulu police have been receiving reports of violations at a rate of over 100 phone calls and a couple dozen emails every day at 723-3900 and HPDCOVID email@example.com.
The order can be found at 808ne.ws/2QPGKGi.
Leighton Badayos, 27, of Waianae was arrested for what he said are three counts of violating the stay-at-home order along with another man, Cole Hanson.
Badayos had organized a caravan of about 60 vehicles and more than 100 people to raise awareness of sex trafficking, especially the trafficking of children.
Before they left Maunalua Bay Beach Park on Monday morning for the Leeward Coast, Badayos told the Star-Advertiser that wearing a mask “is a form of being silenced.”
While waiving signs in the Waianae Mall parking lot around 1:30 p.m., members of Kia‘i 4 Da Keiki said Badayos and Hanson were arrested.
After he was later released from the Honolulu Police Department’s Kapolei substation on $2,600 bail, Badayos said he had not been wearing a mask — like many others across Oahu on Monday — and was targeted for expressing his First Amendment rights.
Members of Kia‘i 4 Da Keiki said they also support a protest that occurred at Honolulu Hale on Monday in opposition to Caldwell’s stay-at-home order, but said no one was arrested there for expressing their First Amendment rights or for not wearing masks, according to Kia‘i 4 Da Keiki member Sonia Gomes.
Honolulu Hale has been the site of previous lockdown protests, including by many who also wanted to show support for President Donald Trump.
Members of Kia‘i 4 Da Keiki said they were waving signs at Waianae Mall when 10 HPD vehicles arrived with nearly 20 officers.
“We had a right to peacefully protest,” said Lorrain Scanlan, a member of the group.
Some members insisted they were all wearing masks and maintaining social distance while they carried signs that read, “Kia‘i 4 Da Keiki.”
Asked whether he was wearing a mask and maintaining social distance, Badayos told the Star- Advertiser, “Nope. Wasn’t wearing a mask. … They trying to put a mask on our face to keep us silent.”
Badayos, 27, of Waianae said he owns his own hauling business. Badayos said he was arrested on suspicion of three counts of violating Caldwell’s stay-at-home order.
“They said we didn’t disperse,” Badayos said. Hanson was not available for comment.
Badayos said Hanson raised $5,200 to bail each of them out of HPD’s Kapolei substation.
After he was released, Badayos told the Star-Advertiser that he has a court date in November and was targeted for “peacefully protesting, exercising our First Amendment right.”