(BIVN) – Three people from Washington state were arrested and one cited for “Prohibited Acts under Emergency Management” following an incident in Hilo Wednesday afternoon, police say, as the state works to have visitors to Hawaiʻi adhere to the mandatory two-week quarantine that was enacted to stop the spread of COVID-19.
From the Hawaiʻi Police Department:
Hawaiʻi Island Police received a report at around 3:14 p.m. yesterday afternoon of four visitors from Washington State who had recently arrived on Hawaiʻi Island breaking the state’s mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors. All four visitors arrived on Hawaiʻi Island on (April 21) and checked into a hotel on Banyan Drive that evening. The visitors were observed outside of their rooms and walking on foot outside the hotel. Officers made area checks and were able to locate the four visitors at the hotel pool, outside of their room and in direct violation of the 14-day quarantine rule.
Police arrested 27-year old Matthew Young, 39-year old Caleb Conrad, and 24-year old Makynzie Anderson, all of Washington State. All three were subsequently charged, posted bail of $500.00 each, were released and given a court date. A 39-year old female visitor from Washington State was also issued a citation for violating Prohibited Acts under Emergency Management.
All four parties were subsequently trespassed from their hotel and were required to find alternative lodging.
At the state level, the COVID-19 Joint Information Center says 19 travelers were sent home with assistance from the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaiʻi. In a Wednesday media release, the state reported:
With $25,000 in funding from the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai‘i or VASH has paid to send 19 people back to their airports of origin during the COVID-19 crisis.
Earlier this week, VASH paid for tickets for Ricky Swan and Joyce Ann Walker of San Diego after they’d been arrested for violating quarantine. Last week, Aarona Browning Lopez was sent back to Los Angeles after posting her outdoor activities on social media. Numerous local residents complained that she was not observing the quarantine requirements, leading to her arrest and prosecution by the Attorney General’s office. After she pled guilty to quarantine violations, special agents from the Attorney General’s office escorted her to her plane.
The two individuals apprehended late Wednesday, Kimberly Tien and Edwin Htun, were able to book their own flights. They initially were caught violating quarantine and given the opportunity to comply. They then changed hotels and violated again. Their prosecution by the Attorney General’s office is pending, but as these quarantine violations are misdemeanors, they may be resolved in absentia. Special agents from the Attorney General’s office directed their escort to a flight to ensure their departure from the State.
Jessica Lani Rich, VASH President and CEO said, “We’ve been helping victims of crime or other adversity they may have experienced in Hawai‘i, for the past 23 years. During this unprecedented public health crisis, we are supporting the return of individuals who arrive from the mainland, who do not have pre-arranged lodging and may need financial assistance for their return flights.” For visitors who do have money to pay for their flights, VASH is helping with booking. So far during the COVID-19 pandemic, flights have been arranged to at least a half-dozen mainland airports and to Guam.
For individuals arrested for violating the self-quarantine rules, they have the option of arranging payment of fines with the courts in lieu of returning to Hawai‘i for trials.
Hawai‘i State Attorney General Clare Connors commented, “The assistance of VASH during this crisis is invaluable to law enforcement. The ability to return people quickly to their airports of origin during the coronavirus crisis greatly assists law enforcement’s ability to ensure the success of our statewide emergency measures. The fact scarce government funds do not need to be expended for these return trips also helps fulfill the mission of keeping Hawaii safe. All of us in the law enforcement community are deeply grateful for this partnership.”
Ultimately, it’s hoped that anyone thinking of coming to Hawai‘i will delay their plans until the state no longer requires quarantine measures to ensure the safety of the community. For visitors and returning residents, it is imperative they abide by the 14-day, mandatory self-quarantine not only to avoid legal action, but to respect others by not potentially spreading COVID-19.
The Hawaiʻi Police Department Police is reminding the public, especially visitors and inter-island travelers, that Governor David Ige’s 14-day self-quarantine orders for all visitors are to:
- Proceed directly from the airport to your designated quarantine location, which is the location identified and affirmed by you on the mandatory State of Hawaiʻi Department of Agriculture Plants and Animals Declaration Form.
- Remain in your designated quarantine location for a period of 14 days or the duration of your stay in the State of Hawaiʻi, whichever is shorter.
- If you are a resident, your designated quarantine location is your place of residence.
- If you are a visitor, your designated quarantine location is your hotel room or rented lodging.
- You can only leave your designated quarantine location for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.
- Do not visit any public spaces, including but not limited to pools, meeting rooms, fitness centers, or restaurants.
- Do not allow visitors in or out of your designated quarantine location other than a physician, healthcare provider, or individual authorized to enter the designated quarantine location by the Director of HIEMA.
- Comply with any and all rules or protocols related to your quarantine as set forth by your hotel or rented lodging.
Police say that travelers are responsible to get to their place of quarantine. Violation of this order is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to a $5,000 fine or one year in prison, police say.
Police also say that if you become ill with a fever or cough while under quarantine:
- Continue to stay in designated quarantine location, avoid contact with others, and contact a healthcare provider for further instructions on treatment or testing.
- If you are older or have any medical conditions (e.g., immune compromise, diabetes, asthma), consult your regular healthcare provider.
- If you feel you need medical care, contact a healthcare provider, and inform them of your travel history.
- If you need urgent medical care (e.g., have difficulty breathing), call 9-1-1 and let the dispatcher know your travel history).