LIHU‘E — Lifeguards reported 14,000 people on Kaua‘i beaches on reopening weekend and in a Monday public address, Mayor Derek Kawakami reminded people that they could again close if people don’t follow the rules.
Kawakami got approval from Governor David Ige to reopen Kauai beaches starting Friday, May 15. It’s a two-week pilot project in which sitting, sunbathing and hanging out on the beaches is allowed.
People must stay with members of their own households, can’t congregate in groups of more than 10, and must maintain social distancing with people they don’t live with.
County of Kaua‘i also asked people not to barbecue on the beach or have potlucks on the beaches.
Over the weekend, the Office of the Mayor had lifeguards monitoring activity, as well as the Kaua‘i Police Department, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, and National Guard Personnel.
“For the most part people were following the guidelines in place,” Kawakami said Monday. “However, there were concerns with people who are not in the same household who were hanging together on the beaches and in the pavilions — and lots of BBQ’s and potlucks.”
Kawakami reemphasized the reason potlucks and barbecues are “discouraged” is because sharing food with people who aren’t members of your own household can spread the COVID-19 virus.
“We want to continue to keep our beaches open. We want to continue to reopen businesses and activities,” Kawakami said. “But in order to do that, we have to be committed to keeping each other safe while we move freely in our community.”
Part of that “moving freely” is the ability to visit cemeteries, and as Memorial Day and Fathers Day are right around the corner, Kawakami clarified Monday that burials and visiting gravesites are both allowed — as long as social distancing is maintained with people you do not live with.
Kawakami also announced on Monday that the county’s Kupuna Kare program, which purchased produce from Sunshine Market vendors and then distributed to kupuna , received an additional $150,000 from the Community Development Block Grant and another partner — Hawai‘i Foodbank, Kauai Chapter.
That program is open for kupuna 70 years or older.