HTA rolling out new procedures to prevent quarantine rule breaking

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Multiple people have broken quarantine rules since it began, the latest being a pair that broke quarantine more than once. To improve the system, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is rolling out new procedures.

“Because of what’s happening, a lot of people are putting blanks or they’re not putting the correct address or they’re putting a fake address, and they’re getting through the process and it’s too late to verify it later,” said Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who is on the senate Special Committee on COVID-19.

The process starts when people get off the plane at the airport.

“What’s going happen is they’re going go to… there will be a table set up there. We’re going to first confirm the phone number, because that’s been a challenge for us, is making sure that phone number works,” said Keith Regan, HTA chief administrative officer.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority said the cell phone verification will start once it has the right equipment.

Then there’s a verification of lodging.

“So we’re going to call the hotel, whatever hotel it is, we’re going to call them. We’re going to speak to the front desk, we’re going to confirm that John Doe or Jane Doe has an actual reservation,” said Regan.

If any of the information turns out to be false, they will immediately be turned over to law enforcement.

“It’s just going to have to move that way because if you’re not going to be truthful to us, we don’t want to deal with you anymore. Deal with the law enforcement,” said Regan.

Senators tell KHON that they’ve been asking for additional checks because not all visitors are following the rules.

“We were holding people accountable, scout’s honor, and it didn’t seem to work in a couple of cases and so you become more strict on your requirements,” said Sen. Sharon Moriwaki, who represents Waikiki and Ala Moana.

Quarantined visitors are contacted up to three times a day. If they’re not where they say they are, authorities will be notified and they may be arrested or sent home.

There will be a follow up with the Hawaii Tourism Authority on Friday at another Special Committee Meeting.

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