HONOLULU – Police in Honolulu have issued 70 citations and made two arrests of people violating the stay-at-home orders put in place to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Most of the alleged violations occurred in public parks after ignoring law enforcement instructions to leave, according to a police spokeswoman.
Arrests were made at a park in Waipahu and another in Kaneohe. Moreover, Hawaii County police also reported arresting a Kailua-Kona woman early Thursday for violating the state stay-at-home order, reported Star Advisor.
Violating the order is a misdemeanor offense punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.
The Kauai Police Department planned to establish checkpoints around that island beginning Thursday to enforce the stay-at-home orders issued by Gov. David Ige and Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami, according to the news organization.
“It is urgent that our community respond to this pandemic and comply with these orders,” Kauai Police Chief Todd Raybuck said in a written announcement regarding the checkpoints. “If this isn’t taken seriously, our small island’s healthcare system will not be able to withstand community spread of the virus. Please, stay at home and do your part for the wellbeing of our community.”
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says there are no immediate plans to run similar checkpoints on Oahu, and Hawaii Island Police Chief Paul Ferreira also said checkpoints would not be practical on his island, Star Advisor reported.
“Kauai is a small island, there’s basically one road around the island, it’s easy to do checkpoints because of that,” Caldwell said. “Oahu has almost a million people, there are many different roads and we have a limited number of police officers who are out there every day making sure that laws are followed, and there are additional pressures on them now.”
“They are out there enforcing and warning people to comply, and what I hear from the chief is that they are complying, so to add this to their responsibilities right now given the other challenges that they face is not something we’re considering,” Caldwell said of the checkpoints.
Although he added, “We’ll look at everything and anything to make sure that people are being safe, that they’re making good judgment on where they should be and when, and that they’re practicing social distancing. Everyone should be taking everything government is asking of them extremely seriously in order to really pound down the spread of this virus.”