One-time use key among new methods for strengthening quarantine monitoring

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — New updates to screening and quarantine monitoring and program procedures were announced Tuesday.

One of the updates included a new method hotels are making sure their guests are following for quarantine. This is by giving them a one-time use room key.

Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who is on the Special Committee on COVID-19, said the idea for the one-time use key came from a constituent.

“If a visitor leaves their hotel room, they would actually have to go back to the front desk to get another hotel key. That’s when hotel staff can call HPD and law enforcement because they violated the quarantine,” Dela Cruz.

“This latest request from the state to do the single-use key, we immediately said, ‘Okay, we will comply.’ We sent out directives to all our hotels that are currently open and asked them to implement a single-use key,” said Mufi Hannemann, Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association president.

The Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association said it contacted hotels and gathered data.

“We can’t tell hotels how to operate unless it’s mandated by law. This was fully done in the spirit of cooperation and the fact that those who are open wanted to let the state know we are participating in it,” said Hannemann.

Out of 91 hotels across the state currently open, 63 have agreed to implement the new key system, four have not, and 24 are still pending.

Hannemann said some hotels, like the Outrigger Waikiki Beach Resort, even began implementing this system back in March, which led to early catches of people breaking the rules.

However, he said some hotels which operate with a hard key, as opposed to a card key which can be programmed, are still trying to figure out a way to implement this one-time use key system.

“We had to come up with other ideas to accomplish the same goals to make sure that the residents and the visitors stay in the same place,” said Hannemann.

As for if this could possibly become mandatory moving forward, Dela Cruz said lawmakers will have to work with the Attorney General to see if that may happen, but he said this new system along with others recently introduced will make a difference.

“A lot of the sacrifice that people made for staying at home for weeks… you know, a lot of people are unemployed, that’s going to go out the window if we just allow the virus to come in and we’re not complying with any of the safety measures that are necessary to keep our community safe,” said Dela Cruz.

Moving forward, one thing prosecutors and the Senate Special Committee are requesting is electronic tracking bracelets for people who get caught breaking the quarantine, to be used as a condition of release.

“With previous cases people were fined or they were caught, and they would break the quarantine again. In order to ensure the quarantines are followed and they can be properly enforced, [electronic tracking bracelets] are necessary,” said Dela Cruz.

The new updates also included a new script for airline personnel to inform people on an incoming flight of the quarantine and the rules, as well as a scalable COVID-19 screening plan, similar to TSA, to check travelers coming into the state.

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