Back to the Start

Lin Meyers, News Feature

Since Sept. 23, Hawaii beaches have been open, starting from solo activity to groups of five, and with the new rules, people are allowed to gather with their friends. 

Currently, up to five people from different households are allowed to take part in any lawful activity, which includes going to the beach, walking, exercising, and biking. All rules related to the COVID-19 protocol have to be followed like no canopies (tents) on state beaches and sandbars. State beaches may be opened for limited use with this order. 

Since reopening, beaches including Waikiki, Ala Moana, and Kaimana are jam-packed with people. Having fun, gathering with friends, and playing in the ocean seem to be popular with many local families and visiting tourists. 

“We like the ocean and there’s a nice view,” Kayla Sylva (10) said.

In addition, on Oct. 15, tourism opened back up in the state with mixed emotions. On the one hand, tourism will bring more people to the state and help bolster our stagnant economy, and it could also increase the number of positive COVID cases. 

“I am not sure if tourism is the best solution when the pandemic is still going on,” Nana Sannomiya (10) explains. 

On the other hand, tourism is important for Hawaii’s economy and many local businesses are dependent on tourist dollars. 

“It is important to keep Hawaii’s economy running and to support tourist attractions and stores,” Sannomiya said. “We rely on them a lot.”

A growing safety concern is the lack of social distancing and the absence of masks in public areas. As seen in the photos, surfers are not maintaining a proper distance from each other and individuals are not wearing masks around others when at the beach.

“I think it is just common sense to know not to be by people during this pandemic, but some people do not have common sense and don’t wear a mask,” Skye Nagata (10).

Knowing many people are going to the beach many people still chose to go. 

“The most I’ve seen during quarantine was maybe about 30-40 on average surfing, hanging out, or working out,” Sylva said. 

Being in the water and having fun at the beach has created a sense of forgetfulness about the pandemic. This shortcoming has created a hardline stance from many locals who do not want tourism to return at all.

“No tourist should come here PERIOD till our numbers are like in the one or two digits,” Nagata strongly expresses.