So What, Exactly, Can You Do Outside During Hawaiʻi’s Shutdown?—UPDATED

The state issued a stay-at-home mandate starting today, but you can still enjoy the outdoors. Here’s how.
Photo: Catherine Toth Fox

Updated April 17, 2020

All Hawaiʻi beaches remain closed—and ocean-related activities such as surfing, paddling and swimming are still permitted—but hiking, boating and fishing in groups of two or more is not allowed, with the exception of members of the same family or others living at the same address.


The beach closure means no sitting, standing, lying down or lounging on beaches and sandbars. You can still walk across beaches to access the ocean for exericse.

In a boat, people are required to keep 6 feet apart from each other and boats need to be at least 20 feet apart from each other.

And hikers are required to maintain a distance of not less than 20 feet from each other.


March 25, 2020

A statewide “stay-at-home” mandate went into effect overnight in Hawaiʻi—and will remain so until April 30.

That means all state-run parks and beaches—in addition to Honolulu city parks and facilities and any hiking trail that starts in state parks—are closed. The penalty for violating this is a petty misdemeanor with up to a $500 fine or 30 days in jail—or both.

Yet, government officials urge people to get outside, go for walks, exercise, even hike.

Confusing? We know.

So we decided to figure out what, exactly, can we do outdoors. Thanks to the staff at the Honolulu Mayor’s Office, here’s what we’ve come up with:

  • All beach parks are closed, period. However, the public is able to cross city parks to access the ocean or beach. (You just can’t hang out in the park.) Surfing, paddling and swimming are fine. Just keep 6 feet apart from other ocean users.
  • Beach right-of-way paths are open, so this is another way people can access the beach.
  • Since city parks are closed, basketball and tennis courts and play fields at these parks are also off-limits. But restrooms in city parks are open.
  • All public schools are closed. So you are technically not allowed on school campuses—to play in their grassy fields or on their playground equipment.
  • Traveling (by car, bike or bus) to exercise is considered “essential.” Meaning if you don’t live within walking distance of a trail or beach right-of-way, you are free to commute there.
  • Most of the state-run hiking trails remain open for now. These trails include Hauʻula Loop, Maunawili Falls and Kuliʻouʻou Ridge on Oʻahu. (Visit the state’s Nā Ala Hele site to see what trails are open and closed.)

Hope that helps!

If you have any questions, email us at and we’ll try to get answers for you. For the latest updates on the COVID-19 in Hawaiʻi, follow us on Twitter @hawaiimagazine.


Categories: Activities, Travel Tips