Authorities in Hawaii are arresting tourists who are violating or blatantly disregarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine rules for arrivals to the islands.
Governor David Ige implemented an emergency stay-at-home order back in March, stating that anyone who subsequently arrives in Hawaii would be required to undergo a mandatory two-week quarantine before they would be permitted to reenter society.
Additionally, in April, the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) issued measures to verify the information of incoming passengers before they leave the airport to ensure that people are following the traveller quarantine order.
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According to these protocols, passengers arriving on trans-Pacific flights are required to fill out the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture declaration form as they usually would. However, now they must also participate in the supplementary process of having their temperature checked. On-site paramedics will medically assess those who present high temperatures or fevers at the airport.
From there, if they do not present as having a temperature, passengers will enter the self-quarantine station. At this juncture, individuals will sign a mandatory order to self-quarantine, which confirms that they are aware that they must quarantine for 14-days.
Individuals are only permitted to leave their residences, hotels, or other accommodations for medical emergencies. Any other instance, such as grocery shopping, using accommodation facilities, or exercising, is strictly prohibited for the duration of the quarantine period.
“By signing the legal document, they acknowledge they understand violating the order is a criminal offence and they are subject to a $5,000 fine and/or a year imprisonment,” the HDOT website explains.
However, according to the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center, travellers and tourists continue to break the rules.
As of May 8, 2020, the Honolulu Police Department made four arrests, Kauai Police Department made five, Maui Police Department made two, and the State of Hawaii Department of the Attorney General has issued eight arrests.
Additionally, some counties in Hawaii have also reported violations of other emergency regulations previously outlined by the governor. Such measures include entering closed state or county parks and gathering and loitering on roads, on beaches, or in parks.
Kauai issued 467 citations for curfew (no longer in effect) and other emergency rule violations, while Maui recorded 874 citations and 41 arrests for violations. The island of Hawaii reported 20 citations and 11 arrests.
“People must understand this is not the time to be vacationing in Hawaii, but if they do, they must abide by the traveller quarantine order and be prepared to stay inside for 14 days,” Director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation Jade Butay said on the organization’s website. “HDOT and its employees are going above and beyond their normal duties and are working to help the community during this extraordinary time.”