Lawmakers discover more loopholes to quarantine order

Coronavirus

The state’s mandatory quarantine order still has too many loopholes, so visitors and residents are easily taking advantage of them.

That’s what state lawmakers heard as they listened to some eye-opening testimony on Tuesday. They’re now moving forward with additional restrictions.

A member from a group called the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers told the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 that there are all types of groups online that share ways of getting around the law. They use illegal vacation rentals, rent cars through an illegal agency, or use ridesharing companies to get around.

“There’s groups where they figure out how they can get to Hawaii and it’s tips, it’s underground, it’s all kinds of interesting things that they share. They have groups,” said Angela Keen of Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers.

The state attorney general says the state can make illegal vacation rental owners liable by making them sign forms, similar to the forms signed by passengers when they arrive.

“We can do all hosts of any guest or any guests within the state of Hawaii are responsible for ensuring that their guests abide by the mandatory self quarantine set forth in different aspects of the EP,” said State Attorney General Clare Connors.

EP meaning an emergency proclamation, which would be needed to implement the restriction. HPD Chief Susan Ballard takes it a step further by also making rental car agencies and ridesharing companies sign those forms.

“If you rent out your car we get your license plate or whatever then you are responsible that you intentionally knowingly violated this law and you can be held to the same misdemeanor standards as those who actually rented it and violated it,” said Ballard.

She says there are still many challenges in enforcing the quarantine order but closing some of the loopholes would help.

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