Enhanced screening measures at airport to help enforce quarantine mandate

Coronavirus

It’s been one month since Governor David Ige issued a mandate that requires all passengers flying into Hawaii to quarantine for 14-days.

Yet, over 100 visitors continue to fly to Hawaii daily.

Some visitors have disregarded the quarantine, others have been arrested and sent home.

This week, new efforts will begin to help keep track of everyone flying in.

Passengers have always been required to fill out the Dept. of Ag form since the 14-day quarantine went into effect, it has helped tourism and local officials know where passengers are heading.

This week, four individuals were arrested on Oahu for violating the State’s mandatory, 14-day self-quarantine order.

An Australian man and a Las Vegas woman were arrested by special agents from the Department of the Attorney General on Tuesday, after their hotel received complaints that they’d been outdoors repeatedly during the five days since they first arrived on Oahu. 

Also on Tuesday, HPD officers arrested a California man and a woman in Aala Park for violating the emergency rules. They’d allegedly violated the self-quarantine rules for an entire week.

Hawaii Island police also arrested three Washington visitors on Wednesday.

According to police, four visitors from Washington state arrived on Tuesday and checked into a hotel on Banyan Drive.

Police said the visitors were seen outside of their rooms and walking on foot outside the hotel.

Officers made checks and were able to locate the four visitors at the hotel pool, outside of their room and in violation of the 14-day quarantine rule.

Police arrested 27-year-old Matthew Young, 39-year-old Caleb Conrad, and 24-year-old Makynzie Anderson, all of Washington State. 

Police said all three were charged, posted $500 bail, and released and given a court date.

A 39-year-old female visitor from Washington State was also issued a citation for violating Prohibited Acts under Emergency Management.

All four parties were subsequently trespassed from their hotel and were required to find alternative lodging.

Earlier this week, VASH assisted with sending Ricky Swan and Joyce Ann Walker back to San Diego after they’d been arrested for violating quarantine.

State officials said last week, Aarona Browning Lopez was sent back to Los Angeles after posting her outdoor activities on social media. Numerous local residents complained that she was not observing the quarantine requirements, leading to her arrest and prosecution by the Attorney General’s office. After she pled guilty to quarantine violations, special agents from the Attorney General’s office escorted her to her plane. 

State officials will now check the forms and confirm residents’ addresses through property tax records and phone numbers provided on the Ag form will be called before leaving the airport to make sure it’s a real number.

“They will call hotel operators from the airport and if that person is not showing a reservation there, then he or she gets pulled out of the line and they turn them over to the sheriffs to deal with,” explained Mufi Hannemann, CEO and president of Hawaii Tourism and Lodging Association.

“It’s gotten to the point where people are saying it’s not right that local residents are being asked to comply with certain rules. Those who come here, shouldn’t come here in the first place, that’s what we’ve been saying,” Hannemann continued.

“Stay home now, visit us later, when you can really get the Aloha spirit. This is not the time to visit us. I cannot underscore the importance of that. It boggles our minds that over one-hundred people are still visiting Hawaii or trying to. That shouldn’t be the case,” he said.

Hannemann said he also sent a memo out to all hotels that are still in operation to call police immediately if they see a visitor violating the 14-day quarantine.

Visitors and residents will be called at random up to three times by officials to make sure they are not violating the 14-day quarantine.  

Call center workers, mostly from the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and HTA have made 11,000 calls since the quarantine rules took effect on March 26. 

If they fail to answer after three attempts, law enforcement is notified.

The state said law enforcement relies on reports, along with tips from the public and hotel workers to help notify people who may be in violation of the self-quarantine rules.

Vacation rentals have been ordered to shut down during each county mayor’s emergency proclamation.

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