Senators express concerns over enforcement of 14-day quarantine order for travelers

Coronavirus

Officials are trying to tighten up the system at the airports. But state lawmakers still have concerns over the enforcement of the 14-day quarantine order for travelers and put those concerns in a letter.

The letters were sent to Hawaii Supreme Court Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald and Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell. We’re told Caldwell was the only Mayor who received a letter because most of the issues on enforcement come from Oahu.

To the Chief Justice, the committee is asking he issue a directive to judges to require bail prior to release and conditions such as ankle bracelets for quarantine violators.

“Our understanding is that law enforcement officers are sometimes reluctant in enforcing the law because they feel the courts aren’t actually putting visitors in jail or fining or giving them the maximum fine,” said Senator Donovan Dela Cruz, Chair of the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19.

Chief Justice Recktenwald responded in a letter saying:

“…bail must be set on an individualized basis consistent with constitutional and statutory requirements, which do not authorize bail schedules.”

To Mayor Caldwell, the letter states lawmakers have received reports that the city has avoided addressing concerns of non-compliance and request enforcement on quarantine orders to be a priority.

Senator Dela Cruz says officials are working with hotels and rental car companies, but part of the problem is the use of illegal vacation rentals.

“To date, DPP has not issued any violations for illegal short-term rentals. So if we know that that’s the loophole, we really need the city to crack down on that,” said Senator Dela Cruz.

In a letter to the Senators, Mayor Caldwell says the airport should be where effective enforcement begins and all visitors should be staying at traditional hotels, not vacation rentals.

Caldwell says:

“They should not be allowed out of the airport unless it is verified that they are staying in a traditional hotel.”

“What we want to make sure is those who committed perjury because they lied on the information they provided at the airport and they are violating the quarantine, that the city really does its best to help and enforce it,” said Dela Cruz.

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