Kaneʻohe residents feel the impact of COVID-19 restrictions
By: Sean Ibara
18 October 2020
Located near the border of Kane`ohe and Kailua, Friendship Garden Trail offers a stunning view overlooking Kane`ohe Bay. (Sean Ibara)
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Like others throughout O`ahu, residents of Kane`ohe have lost the freedom to partake in outdoor activities after the declaration of the latest island-wide Emergency Order. Kane`ohe is known for its hiking trails, parks, and scenic views. “For me personally, it was just the normalcy of being able to go outside and kind of have the freedom to do whatever,” said Kane`ohe resident, Justin Hudcovic.
Kane`ohe’s serene mystique comes from its lush scenery and considerable rainfall. Hudcovic is an elementary school teacher who has lived in Kane`ohe with his family for the past 15 years. He spoke about some of the outdoor activities that have been affected by the pandemic.
“Kane`ohe is such a good place just to kind of explore. There is so many different things to do. Whether it is like I mentioned before, going to Ho`omaluhia, being around nature, Kaneohe is a very green place and there is a lot of outdoor activities for you to do. Whether it is going down to Kane`ohe district park, going down to Ko`olau, going to Kualoa. Not being able to do that—being restricted at home kind of gave me a different perspective or appreciation for those little things that we get to do in Kane`ohe,” said Hudcovic.
UPDATE: On September 24, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced that O`ahu will begin reopening under a “tier system” based on the number of weekly cases and test positivity rates. As of October 8, it allows for social gatherings of up to five people (who can be unrelated) at parks, beaches, and trails.
The latest Emergency Order, declared by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell, state that all City and State parks along with beaches will be closed through September 9. O`ahu residents have mixed feelings about how City and County officials have handled the pandemic. Lifelong Kane`ohe resident Jenny Young shared her feelings about the guidelines that have been put in place.
A view of Ho`omaluhia Botanical Garden’s reservoir. (Sean Ibara)
“Their communication hasn’t been clear but at the same time, it’s understandable and I feel like they’re doing their best and everybody is trying, I feel like, to make the right decisions and keep everybody’s best interests in mind but to be fair, this is a pandemic and this is the first time that anybody is dealing with something like this. I feel like everybody is upset with how things are, and everybody has lots of complaints, but I honestly don’t feel like they’re intentionally trying to make things worse than it’s supposed to be,” said Young.
Many of the stone benches at Ho`omaluhia Botanical Garden are engraved with the names of people who donated to the beautification of the property. (Sean Ibara)