HONOLULU — New rules impacting rent and evictions, boating and fishing, hiking trails and beaches were announced Friday by Gov. David Ige, in his fifth supplementary proclamation.
The proclamation forestalls evictions for failure to pay rents, leases or other related charges like maintenance and utilities; encourages everyone to wear cloth face masks when in public places, with the exception of exercising; and places limits on activities outside of the home.
It also requires essential businesses to mandate social distancing, limit customer occupancy, disinfect and use sanitizing products, provide for pickup at the store or delivery, and require face masks for employees and customers.
The eviction moratorium specifically prohibits against price increases that would “permit the termination of any tenancy for a residential dwelling unit,” and stops evictions for failure to pay “any portion of the rent, maintenance fees, utility charges, taxes” or other related fees.
Penalties for breaking any of the new rules include a misdemeanor charge and, upon conviction, up to a $5,000 fine and a year in prison.
Beach activities are restricted to outdoor exercises like surfing, solo paddling and swimming as long as social distances are maintained. People can still access the ocean. Prohibited activities include sitting, standing, lying down, lounging, sunbathing or loitering on beaches and sandbars.
State Board of Land and Natural Resources Chair Suzanne Case said the state Department of Land and Natural Resources is “encouraged” to see the stronger restrictions after their enforcement officers noted large groups of people hanging out on beaches, ignoring social-distancing rules.
“Social-distancing requirements are necessary for all of us to practice until COVID-19 is brought under control here in Hawai‘i,” said Case. “The fifth supplementary proclamation does include exceptions which will allow people to still get outside and enjoy nature,” Case said.
The emergency rules also contain provisions for boating, fishing and hiking. No more than two people are allowed on any boat in Hawai‘i’s water for recreational purposes, unless they are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. Both people on the boat are required to maintain physical distancing of six feet from one another, as is reasonably possible. All boats are required to stay 20 feet from one another, according to a news release from DLNR.
State parks are closed, as are the trailheads located on state land, but the trails within the Na Ala Hele Trails program are open if you access them without crossing state land.
Social distancing is required for hiking, too, and all participants are to be part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address. People who want to hike alone, but who want to have another person nearby for safety reasons, are required to maintain a distance of not less than 20 feet from each other, according to DLNR.
People can actively engage in fishing and gathering to get food. No groups of two or more people can engage in fishing and gathering in state waters or state lands, unless all in the group are part of a single residential or family unit sharing the same address.
The state Department of Education announced plans to shift to a rollout of summer school with a heavy emphasis on distance learning on Friday, after announcing the continuation of enrichment and distance learning through May 28, the last day of the 2019-20 school year.
“This pandemic has undoubtedly changed the way that education will be delivered at all levels, and especially how our department will operate moving forward,” Superintendent Dr. Christina Kishimoto said.
“We have pushed our boundaries and created new ways of delivering on our mission, including expanding distance learning opportunities, establishing an equity-of-access approach to devices and the internet, and exploring work-from-home approaches that can help us rethink our real-estate footprint for non-instructional staff,” she said.
”I want to acknowledge the resiliency of the HIDOE workforce and thank them for rising to the challenge of looking for innovative ways to move our work forward through this unprecedented time.”
On April 2, the state Board of Education unanimously approved the department’s request to modify high-school graduation and commencement requirements for the graduating class of 2020.
This approval in part helped finalize plans to utilize grades from the third quarter to determine final grades for student courses. In addition, an announcement was made earlier this week that traditional commencement ceremonies would be replaced with alternative celebrations due to safety concerns and social-distancing guidance. Celebrations will occur in the later half of May, according to the DOE.
School facilities have been closed to students since March 19, but the school system remains open.
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