Maui has seen its positive test results double during the past two weeks and has closed one of its popular beaches at Makena State Park. It was reported that there had been an average of over 12 new confirmed cases per day per 100,000 residents in the week ending Jan. 4, 2021, which is the highest rate of any county. Since the pandemic began, Maui County (which includes Lanai and Molokai) has reported about 1,100 confirmed cases and 17 deaths.
New edict from Lt. Governor.
Lt. Governor, Josh Green has called on Hawaii residents to cancel all social gatherings for the two weeks. Just today (January 7) the case total reached its highest ever at 322.
Meanwhile, the state of Hawaii saw an average of 138 daily new coronavirus cases during the same time period. Hawaii is still the lowest of all 50 states based on the rate of cases and other indicators. The number is growing, however, which is concerning.
Little Beach at Makena State Park.
How many of you have hiked the trail to the other side of Big Beach, checked the view from the top, and then actually went down to Little Beach? Maybe we should say, what happens on Little Beach stays at Little Beach. Your authors have done it in their younger days, but now we are not in a normal time.
Apparently, up to 400 people without masks have been gathering on Sundays at Little Beach at Makena State Park. As a result, the state has shut down the area based on “reckless and illegal behavior” that could cause the spread of COVID, according to state DLNR.
This harkens back to what happened at Polihale in July when reckless behavior from locals closed the beach on Kauai. After that, it reopened to the public two months later in September.
Until things change on Maui, anyone attempting to access the area may be cited for illegal entry to a closed area. Signage and fencing are being installed.
The state said that “Participants in the Sunday gatherings shoulder full responsibility for this closure.” It’s too bad their astounding lack of personal responsibility penalizes everyone else who abides by the rules.”
Like the one from DLNR above, photos show hundreds of people on the beach, disregarding social distancing and state mask mandates. Prior parties there have been tied to COVID spread. DLNR said that “The parties have the possibility of becoming so-called super spreader events.”
DLNR also mentioned that the traditional Sunday parties that feature drum circles on the beach have been long-plagued by nudity, alcohol, and drugs.
State Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers have made repeated trips to Little Beach on Sundays and have issued citations for alcohol violations. Officials said that they do not have the ability to manage the size of these events, which resulted in the decision to close the beach.
Adjacent Big Beach is still open. DLNR will be monitoring the compliance of this temporary closure and examining other more permanent solutions to “impeding and eliminating this reckless and illegal behavior on public land that is a valuable recreational and cultural landscape,” the release said.
Photo courtesy of Hawaii DLNR.