Local officials in Honolulu, Hawaii, are advising people to stay in their homes and hunker down to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but that hasn’t prevented people from flocking to the area’s famous beaches for some time in the waves.
As Hawaii News Now reported this week, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell ordered that all beach parks be closed, but the city does not have the authority to stop people from accessing the water. He noted that the state of Hawaii has control over the state’s beaches, but he is still asking people to refrain from gathering there.
“Here’s the point: We’re pretty much hunkering down in the City and County of Honolulu,” Caldwell said. “We don’t want to have large gatherings. We don’t want any gatherings anywhere in any private or public facilities.”
“It’s not a perfect solution because people continue to not follow the order. We are hoping that as we go forward, people will begin to realize the… significance of the spread of this virus.”
Caldwell noted that there would only be limited lifeguard services available to keep the beach safe, as all crews have been called into mobile response mode. With surf rising in some beaches and expected to be rising soon in others, Caldwell said he is worried about people’s safety if they decide to venture into the ocean.
Officials in Florida faced similar difficulties over the course of this week as thousands of college students arrived for spring break trips that had been planned before the outbreak of the coronavirus. With crowds gathering and danger of the transmission of the virus intensifying, many local officials moved to close down beaches, as Governor Ron DeSantis refused to do so, NBC News reported. DeSantis did limit groups to 10 people or fewer at beaches but said that there were no widespread problems across the state with crowded beaches.
Many of the most heavily crowded beaches closed, with mayors of Miami Beach and Fort Lauderdale announcing closures back on Sunday, and officials in Tampa and Naples moving to close theirs down as well.
Australia saw some problems similar to Hawaii and Florida, with many flocking to the famous Bondi Beach and large crowds gathering despite warnings from officials to avoid being in close proximity to groups in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
While state officials in Florida held off this week on ordering beaches to close, leaders in other states adopted more stringent measures to keep people in their homes. The states of California and New York ordered non-essential businesses to close and banned gatherings, measures that have been adopted by other states since then.