LIHU‘E — Kaua‘i Police Department officers cracked down on COVID-19 violations this week, staging several checkpoints around the island, issuing citations and making arrests for violations of curfew, quarantine and stay-at-home orders.
Wednesday, KPD reported that nearly 1,700 vehicles went through just one checkpoint set up on Kuhio Highway by the south end of the Kapa‘a bypass road — most were on their way to or from either essential work or essential activities, according to officials.
“Right now, we are seriously attempting to curtail the number of cars on the road and discourage people from getting into them to travel unless they absolutely need to,” said KPD Chief Todd G. Raybuck.
“Please consider what is actually essential and limit your activities to the best of your ability. We also want to remind people that our presence at these locations is solely an effort to prevent the spread of the virus within our community,” he said.
Checkpoints have been causing traffic delays, particularly on Wednesday, when KPD issued an alert over its social-media network, alerting the public of the Kapa‘a checkpoint and advising there was “no traffic crash in the area.”
“Unfortunately, there is heavy traffic because there are too many vehicles on the road despite having a stay-at-home order,” KPD said in its Wednesday traffic alert.
”Kaua‘i police kindly ask that you please consider the true essential nature of your travels before heading out. We really want to keep our community healthy and free from community spread of the virus.”
Checkpoints of this nature have been and will continue to be conducted at various times and locations around the island to help deter people from traveling and potentially spreading COIVD-19 within the community.
On Monday, 300 vehicles passed through a Waimea checkpoint, 213 though Hanalei, 160 through Po‘ipu and some 1,150 through Kapa‘a. A handful of drivers were advised to turn around due to conducting non-essential travel, but the majority stated that they were traveling for essential needs.
On Tuesday, more than 1,400 drivers passed through a checkpoint in Po‘ipu and more than 250 at a checkpoint in Kapa‘a, nearly all drivers stating essential reasons for travel.
As of Thursday, the KPD had issued 12 misdemeanor citations for COVID-19 emergency-order violations, largely pertaining to curfew. They each could mean fines of up to $5,000 and up to a year in jail.
“Rest assured, we will be taking further action if traffic on the roads continues in the way that it has,” said Raybuck. “I understand how difficult this is, as none of us have ever really faced having to make this kind of sacrifice for the greater good of our island, but I do believe that if there’s any community that can pull together and do this, it’s ours.”
Source: The Garden Island