Lawmakers face more hurdles trying to crack down on quarantine violators

Coronavirus

More frustration for state lawmakers trying to crack down on visitors who don’t follow the 14-day quarantine order. Plans to immediately fine violators face legal challenges.

Violators of the quarantine order can be fined up to $5,000 and lawmakers had suggested imposing the fine right away rather than have the violators go through the judicial process. But the state attorney general told lawmakers it’s not that easy.

“That would have to be something that the legislature would allow the governor to do as an emergency or if the legislature would just want to come up with some kind statutory, civil fine type arrangement. Then that can be separately legislated,” said State Attorney General Clare Connors.

Even then, Connors says violators can still try to challenge the citation so the process would lead to the same type of delay. She adds that the governor has asked the chief justice to force violators to post bail of $2,000.

“That’s significant, that will help us with our current situation when we prosecute these individuals,” said Connors.

Lawmakers also point out that residents who fly back home pose the same threat of infecting residents here, and they’re also supposed to place themselves on 14-day quarantine.

“HPD seems hesitant to even approach those homes or whatever, so I’m sure they’re not arresting or citing. I think we need to get a handle on that,” said Sen. Michelle Kidani.

On Wednesday 189 residents flew to Hawaii along with 233 visitors.

“We are aware that the numbers are mostly residents coming home and that they’re violating quarantine too. And we do need to address those enforcement issues as well,” said Connors.

A spokeswoman for HPD says on Oahu, enforcement of the travel quarantine is primarily a state function.

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