HONOLULU (KHON2) — According to the Hawaii Tourism Authority, a total of 2,424 people arrived in Hawaii on Wednesday, 754 were visitors. That’s the highest visitor count since the state’s quarantine order took effect.
Jessica Lani Rich, Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) president and CEO said she has seen a correlation between higher visitor numbers and the number of people they send back.
“We have seen a slight increase in the number of people we’re sending back,” said Rich.
Rich said since the COVID-19 flight assistance program began on April 6th, VASH has sent back a total of 137 visitors who either broke quarantine or chose to return because they couldn’t stay past the quarantine period.
She said they are expecting that some of the recent passengers will refuse to follow the rules.
“Obviously as more visitors come into our state there’s going to be more people coming here who in the back of their minds are saying to themselves, ‘I am not going to be in quarantine for 14 days,’” said Rich.
But those who break the quarantine rules are being monitored, not only by authorities, but by the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers. This local group has been working to catch and report people not following the law, and this holiday weekend is no exception.
“I definitely think everybody will be looking a little bit closer,” said Shan Mendoza-Goldsby, an administrator for the Facebook group.
She said with more people flying in, there is a greater chance the COVID-19 virus can sneak in.
“It’s definitely a lot more concerning when you have so many opportunities for people to be bringing it there,” said Mendoza-Goldsby.
That is why she said they will be checking as often as they can this weekend.
“They are posting [pictures] of themselves. They are hashtagging. They are checking in in different locations, and I think that’s something people are a little more aware of over the holiday weekend,” said Mendoza-Goldsby.
With many parts of the mainland seeing a spike in cases, KHON also asked the state where visitors are coming from. We were told that information would be ready by the end of this month.