Letter: Mayor Victorino Urges Governor to Reconsider Rules Related to Exercise on the Beach

April 18, 2020, 9:36 PM HST · Updated April 20, 7:22 AM
Wendy Osher · 61 Comments
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Maui Mayor Michael Victorino today sent a letter to Governor Ige urging him to reconsider or clarify rules “to expressly allow exercise activities to occur on the beaches.”

The letter is dated April 18, and was posted to the County of Maui Facebook page just before 8:30 p.m. this evening.  It comes on the heels of Governor Ige’s latest proclamation that includes an order that closes all state beaches.

  1. The Governor’s proclamation states: “All state beaches in Hawaiʻi are hereby closed. No person shall sit, stand, lie down, lounge, sunbathe, or loiter on any state beach or sand bar in Hawaiʻi, except when transiting across or through beaches to access the ocean waters for outdoor exercise purposes, such as surfing, solo paddling, and swimming, so long as physical distancing requirements are maintained.”

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources issued a press release today saying, “It’s okay to cross the beach to get to the water, but not okay to sit, stand, lie down, lounge, sunbathe, or loiter on beaches and sandbars. It’s currently against the law to walk or run on state beaches.”  The Department noted that beaches under individual county jurisdictions may have different rules.

State officials say violations of the emergency rules can carrying fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail.

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Mayor Victorino’s letter stated, “While I do not support stationary activity such as sitting and reading or sunbathing not eh beach, I wholeheartedly support walking and running on the beaches.  These activities, provided that social distancing is adhered to,” allow our residents a form of physical exercise that is vital to good health.”

“On behalf of the people of Maui County, I hope you give serious consideration to my request,” Mayor Victorino wrote.

On Friday, the Mayor had stated at a press conference that the County would start enforcing the state’s order on Sunday, April 19, 2020, to give the public a day to adjust.

A petition at change.org is asking Maui Mayor Michael Victorino to “act now on behalf of the thousands of his constituents who utilize” beaches across the County “for healthy, COVID-19 safe exercise.” In just 14 hours, the petition had garnered more than 4,000 signatures (by 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 18, 2020).

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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