State and city officials push governor to mandate quarantine for all arriving passengers

Coronavirus

There are more calls for the state to place all passengers arriving at Hawaii’s airports under a 14-day quarantine.

Honolulu council members, state lawmakers, and the lieutenant governor are pushing the governor to make the move.

Under the proposal, Lt. Gov. Josh Green says Hawaii residents returning would be under home quarantine. Visitors would be forced to stay in their hotel rooms, and if they don’t comply, would be subject to a hefty fine.

Green says Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara of the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency is already reviewing the proposal on how the quarantine would work. He adds residents have been cooperative about going on home quarantine. If visitors don’t comply with staying in their hotel room for 14 days, they would be fined $5,000.

“And that would be very helpful because people would know how serious we are. Honestly, it would be a total deterrent if people knew that was gonna happen so we would not have almost any people flying in that were potentially positive for COVID-19,” said Green.

While some may argue that if we keep pushing visitors away they might never come back, Green says that is unlikely.

“They’re always gonna come back. We have the best brand in the country, but we won’t if we have a gigantic outbreak of COVID-19. So the idea is, since tourism is down so much and the flights are down so low, it’s almost a non-sacrifice. But this would make sure that we would get the opportunity to completely take care of our own,” said Green.

The governor made a public plea on Tuesday for visitors to stop coming to Hawaii for at least 30 days. And while visitor numbers have dropped significantly, about 20,000 passengers are still arriving daily. It’s not clear how many of those are visitors and how many are residents coming home.

“When we have young people celebrating on the side of Waikiki that they got in for $100 roundtrip and we don’t know whether or not they have an acute illness at a time when we have a pandemic, we have to wonder what the value of that is,” said Green.

As of now, medical personnel are screening passengers at the airports by checking their temperature.

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