(BIVN) – With Governor David Ige’s extension of the stay-at-home order to the end of May, the mandatory 14-day traveler-quarantine has been extended, also.
Even with the shutdown of all non-essential services in Hawaiʻi due to COVID-19, the state still receives about 100 visitors per day, arriving by air.
“This is why we’re extending the mandatory 14-day traveler-quarantine,” Governor Ige said, as he announced the signing of his Sixth Supplementary Proclamation related to the pandemic. According to the governor, the Federal Aviation Administration “has made it clear the State cannot shutdown all air traffic, which is prompting the department and other agencies to strengthen screening efforts to prevent visitors from violating the rule.”
“When visitors arrive in the islands they will be temperature screened and required to provide a valid personal phone number and the phone number of their lodging for verification,” a state media release stated. “If they don’t have a reservation or no one answers, the visitor will not be allowed to leave the airport. It’s believed enhanced measures will help reduce the number of visitors that violate the quarantine order.”
Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation spokesperson Tim Sakahara participated in the governor’s media conference on Saturday, while the DOT provided this information:
The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) has implemented improved measures to verify incoming passenger information before they leave the airport to help ensure people are abiding by the traveler quarantine order. The enhanced process is underway at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) and will begin statewide in the coming days.
Hawaii was the first state in the country to implement a traveler self-quarantine order and the process is evolving and improving every day. The 14 day traveler self-quarantine process encompasses several different agencies which are coordinating with each other, with Kenneth Hara, Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) Director, serving as the overall operations lead.
Arriving passengers on trans-Pacific flights will continue to fill out the State of Hawaii Department of Agriculture declaration form. After landing they will have their temperature taken. Anyone with a high temperature will receive a medical assessment by paramedics stationed at the airport.
Passengers who do not have a fever will continue through the process. An airport representative will review the declaration form to make sure it is complete.
The passenger will move to the order for self-quarantine station. The person will also initial and sign the mandatory order for self-quarantine form confirming they are aware they must self-quarantine for 14 days. By signing the legal document, they acknowledge they understand violating the order is a criminal offense and they are subject to a $5,000 fine and/or a year imprisonment.
An airport representative will collect the two forms and begin verifying their information. First, they will call their mobile phone number to confirm it rings right in front of them. If it does not ring, the person may have listed inaccurate information and is asked to verify the number. If the person refuses to provide a phone number that can be answered on the spot, law enforcement is contacted and they are subject to citation and arrest.
After the phone number is verified, an airport representative will then check the address listed for lodging. For returning Hawaii residents, the address should match their government issued ID. For visitors, the airport representative will call their hotel to confirm they have a reservation. Processing personnel have phone numbers for every hotel in the state.
If the visitor is not staying at a hotel, the address they list will be checked on the county’s tax map key (TMK) to verify it is a legitimate residence. The number for the place of lodging will also be called to check if they are staying with someone at the address.
All information will also be provided to counties to check if the address is a vacation rental. This is a warning to all vacation rentals in the state to stop accepting visitor reservations. The government will have their address and they will be subject to enforcement for operating illegally. A list of suspected illegal short-term rental sites will be provided to the appropriate county.
Once all the information is confirmed and the order is signed the person is allowed to leave.
“I myself was one of the people verifying the passenger information yesterday. The process is slower, but it is effective,” said Director Jade Butay, Hawaii Department of Transportation. “People must understand this is not the time to be vacationing in Hawaii, but if they do, they must abide by the traveler quarantine order and be prepared to stay inside for 14 days.”
Law enforcement officers are standing by to deal with anyone who refuses the process or becomes combative.
In addition, 20 HDOT Administration Division employees have been reassigned to conduct follow up calls to residents to verify they are abiding by the 14 day traveler quarantine order beginning today. Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) personnel will continue calling visitors during the traveler quarantine period.
HDOT employees are also working with the Department of Labor and Industrial Relations (DLIR) to help with unemployment claims at the convention center.
“HDOT and its employees are going above and beyond their normal duties and are working to help the community during this extraordinary time,” said Director Butay.
Overall passenger arrivals to Hawaii are down more than 99 percent from this time last year. Currently there are very few incoming flights to Hawaii. The only remaining domestic flights to Honolulu are from San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Seattle. The only regularly scheduled international destination is Guam. There are minimal trans-Pacific flights arriving to neighbor islands. Right now, only Delta Airlines is flying from Los Angeles to Kahului, Kona and Lihue 3-4 times a week.