Floatilla Organizers, Attendees Warned to Cancel or Face Arrest
State officials are warning floatilla organizers and participants to cancel or face arrest. Several hundred people have reportedly RSVP’d for the event being publicized on social media for the Forth of July holiday at an East O‘ahu beach.
The DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement says “not only is attendance at the gathering illegal, in light of 29 additional Hawai‘i COVID-19 cases today (25 on Oʻahu), it is extremely irresponsible.”
Current Emergency Rules and Orders prohibit the gathering of large groups of people, and additionally, no marine permits have been issued for the event.
DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla said, “This floatilla event, being promoted on social media, is very concerning because it invites people to gather in a large group. We’re imploring anyone who has expressed their intention to attend this event to step back and consider their personal responsibility to their friends, their family and most especially, their kupuna.”
DOCARE officials say the department is prepared to “stringently enforce” all emergency rules and orders. Officers will be on patrol and on alert to detect any floatilla activity. Partner law enforcement and public safety agencies are also being made aware of the information received about this event.
Traditionally, the Independence Day holiday has been a very busy time for DOCARE and other first responders. Redulla said, “These types of Illegal floatilla events, divert law enforcement and emergency response resources unnecessarily. It is wrong for anyone to be organizing a floatilla event at this time. We take this information seriously and enforcement action will be taken if necessary.”
State health officials expressed concerns today that many people are failing to abide by physical distancing measures and the use of face coverings and that’s leading to the current spike in coronavirus cases via community transmission. They urge everyone to act with care and to act responsibly.
Violations of Hawai‘i’s Emergency Rules and Orders are misdemeanors, punishable by up to $5,000 fine and one-year imprisonment.