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Hawaii island officials consider closing beaches, canceling Ironman as COVID-19 numbers ‘skyrocket’

KAILUA-KONA >> Hawaii island officials are considering closing beaches and canceling the Ironman World Championship in response to a surge of coronavirus cases on the island.

“Right now our numbers are skyrocketing. It’s a shame because we as a county have been doing a great job,” Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth told County Council members. “But we let down our guards — I let down my guard.”

The administration is revising its emergency rules and will submit the changes to Gov. David Ige for approval, West Hawaii Today reported Wednesday.

That revision could include a return to restrictions at parks and beaches that allow people to only cross the sand to get to the ocean to surf, swim or fish, but not to gather or sit.

Similar restrictions were enacted across Hawaii during the peak of the pandemic last year.

The Ironman World Championship is scheduled for Oct. 9 in Kailua-Kona.

Roth said a decision would be made soon about whether the event could go on.

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t look too positive for Ironman this year,” Roth said. “The question with Ironman is what do you do with all the people who come to spectate.”

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