Social Distancing Becomes the Norm on Oahu


Dezz Mello

Safeway in Kaneohe adhering to social distancing guidelines by using distance markers on the floor while customers pay for their items.

On Saturday morning, March 21, Bob and wife Emelda Hayes walked into the Navy Marine Pro Shop to pay their green fees for a round of golf. The two, both of whom are in their 60s, were told that they would have to each ride in their own golf cart, by order of the golf management. Bob Hayes explained that they were married and said that one golf cart would be fine for the two of them. The clerk then advised that they would not be able to play unless they each had their own cart. 

“I totally agree with the practice of social distancing during these stressful times,” said Bob Hayes, retired Navy shipyard worker. “But I live with this woman, I sleep next to this woman, we drove here together in an enclosed car, and I see no reason why we need individual golf carts on a wide-open golf course. I feel a little common sense would go a long way in this Covid-19 situation.”

The coronavirus is changing lives day by day. Social distancing is one of the major ways chosen to combat this deadly virus by remaining at least 6 feet away from each other to reduce the possibility of spreading the virus according to Deborah Birx, Coronavirus Response Coordinator. 

“Keeping people separated has proven to slow down the spread of the virus,” Birx said during a CNN news brief.

Ed Lingle, a retired police officer from Kailua, agrees that social distancing is essential to stop the rapid advancement of this global pandemic.

“I’ve changed a lot of things that I do,” Lingle said. “I avoid going to the supermarket during busy times of the day, and I also wear a mask whenever I have to go out in public.”

So far the coronavirus pandemic globally has reached over 789,000 cases resulting in almost 38,000 deaths (according to CNN news as of March 30). The United States became the first country to report 100,000 cases and climbing resulting in over 3,150 deaths (according to CNN news as of March 30). According to Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, it is up to every individual to use social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus.

“I feel the way I can help during this crazy time is to at least practice social distancing by staying at home if I have nothing important to do,” said Jeren Nishimoto, 22-year-old senior at Chaminade. “I don’t practice social distancing just for myself. I have grandparents, aunts and uncles who are older who I don’t want to see getting sick from this virus.”

Although most people are taking different measures to try and help stop the spread of the deadly Covid-19, others proceed with their lives in a normal fashion. With a totally opposing view, Christopher Burgance, 72, a retired commercial pilot, feels that the social distancing recommendations are excessive and the medical community may be going overboard with all these rules and restraints.

“I’ve been through a lot of infectious diseases in the past and I’m still standing here,” Burgance said. “I’m not about to change my whole lifestyle over a few new cases of a virus.”  

The spread of the coronavirus is proving to be one of the world’s deadliest viruses, according American neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Renee Yuen, Chaminade University’s head golf coach, thinks that adhering to the policy of social distancing is extremely important if we want to slow the deadly outbreak and save lives.

“Everyone needs to help by doing their part in this social distancing campaign,” Yuen said. “We all need to pull together and put an end to this vicious cycle of contamination. Social distancing will help create the ending that we so dearly strive for.”

Although the state of Hawaii has issued a stay-at-home order, there are still a few private golf courses open for play to the public. It seems that unless management is ordered to close, some golf courses will remain open for play. Most Military courses closed early Wednesday such as Leileihua, Mamala Bay (Hickam), and Navy Marine. However, Klipper Golf Course on the Kaneohe Marine Base will remain open on the weekends for play.

Update: On March 31, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell ordered all private golf courses on Oahu to close.