HONOLULU (KHON2) — On Thursday, officials say they expect about 2,000 to 3,000 visitor arrivals per day.
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While many will be using the pre-travel testing program, some may choose not to do the program or may end up testing positive for COVID-19, which means they will have to quarantine for 14-days.
The Honolulu Police Department and investigators with the Attorney General’s office continue to enforce the state’s emergency orders, which includes fining those that break the quarantine.
The Attorney General’s office said in a statement:
We will be maintaining a roughly similar staffing number for now and will be carefully monitoring whether there are significant changes in the enforcement need.
However, with more visitors expected to come in, groups like the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers say they will also be providing aid.
“We have an enormous team of people, all ready and waiting to help Hawaii stay safe,” said Angela Keen with Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers.
Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers has about 6,500 members. The group helps law enforcement catch those who refuse to follow the rules and break quarantine.
Keen said the new testing program should make it easier for them and officials to find quarantine violators.
“It’s probably going to be easier because if we’re going to report on someone, all I have to do is check with my contact with the Attorney General’s office,” said Keen. “If that person’s name is on the list, and they know that they’re going to be watched, there won’t be a couple of thousand people in question. There’s going to be maybe 100 or so.”
The group will also be looking out for people they suspect are breaking quarantine and have tested positive for the virus.
“In the past we didn’t know quarantine breakers whether they were negative or positive,” said Keen. “They were just breaking the law. Now really what comes into play is the safety aspect.”
Those who violate the emergency orders and break quarantine have the option to return home through the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii’s (VASH) COVID-19 Flight Assistance Program, which has already returned 289 visitors, and they expect to return more.
“In the past six months we have seen a number of visitors come to Hawaii and are not prepared,” said Jessica Lani Rich, Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii President and CEO. “So, we would not be the least bit surprised if on Oct. 15, there continues to be those number of visitors who do not get tested for COVID and secondly, have no place to quarantine for 14- days.”
Rich said the COVID-19 Flight Assistance Program will continue to at least the end of October. For travelers that come to Hawaii unprepared for the pre-travel testing program, Rich said they will help them.
“If they did not test negative or don’t plan to quarantine, a lot of the airlines work with us,” Rich said. “So we’re able to get either no change fee or a discounted change fee. So we will work with visitors to do that.”
But Keen said the most effective way to prevent emergency order violations is to make sure that travelers are well-informed about the rules and the consequences that come if they choose not to follow them.
“Really, it’s important to educate all of the passengers when they’re coming in on the airplanes,” said Keen. “That’s really going to be key about their behavior, and how they behave themselves when they’re here on island.”