City of Honolulu limits permits for reopened campgrounds

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FILE – In this March 28, 2020, file photo, a couple sits on an empty section of Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Hawaii law enforcement authorities are cracking down on rogue tourists who are visiting beaches, jetskiing, shopping and generally flouting strict requirements that they quarantine for 14 days after arriving. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones, File)

HONOLULU (AP) — The city of Honolulu has announced that campgrounds will reopen for the first time in three months with limited permits to ensure social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The city will now issue permits for just over 100 campsites across Oahu, Hawaii News Now reported.

“There’s severely limited amount of campsites now. We went to about half of what’s available. Simply because we wanted to physically distance the campsites,” Honolulu Department of Parks and Recreation Public Information Officer Nathan Serota said.

Regular camp rules still apply. Social distancing is intended to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

Jeannette Macaluso and her family camp at Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden at least three times a year, but she said it was difficult to get permits this year.

“We had a camping booking party two weeks before. So, we all got our laptops and sat together and we made sure we’re on the site at 4:45 so that when the site opens at 5, we’re all clicking,” Macaluso said.

The Bellows Beach campground northeast of Honolulu will remain closed through Sept. 4 for turtle nesting. All the other campgrounds have reopened.

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