HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - All travelers on incoming international and domestic flights to Hawaii are now required to complete a 14-day quarantine as part of a push to stop the spread of coronavirus in the islands.
The quarantine — coupled with a sweeping statewide stay-at-home order — have essentially brought tourism to a standstill and prompted the closure of hundreds of businesses, hotels and attractions.
Those who violate the quarantine face fines and even jail time, but authorities have acknowledged it will be difficulty to enforce.
They’re hoping the mandate alone will discourage visitors from coming.
Incoming travelers and returning residents will be tracked with a form.
“The flight crew will make an announcement informing them of new quarantine rules and they’ll be handed the agricultural form," said Maj. Gen. Kenneth Hara, the state’s adjutant general.
“Once they get off the aircraft, they’ll be met at a location where agents will verify their identification with their ID card and verify the form is completed properly.”
- More than 60,000 people have filed for unemployment in Hawaii this month
- Streets and beaches are now empty in the state’s no. 1 tourist destination
- Malls and beaches empty, stores close and layoffs mount as stay-at-home order sets in
- Hawaii public school campuses to remain closed through April 30
- More hotels closing their doors as coronavirus restrictions widen
Certain travelers are not affected, including those on inter-island flights, essential workers, emergency responders and flight crews. Visitors who are already here are also not required to complete a quarantine.
According to instructions online, travelers are to proceed directly from the airport to their designated quarantine location. They can only leave designated quarantine locations for medical emergencies or to seek medical care.
As far as food, they will have to depend on room service or deliveries.
On Wednesday, the Weaver family was returning to the islands just before the mandatory quarantine began.
“We actually came back a day earlier because we were hoping to avoid that,” said Dan Weaver, who was coming back from a trip to Ohio. His wife, Tatiana, said she had to get back before Thursday for her job.
“I’m kind of an essential staff member at this point, so to be in quarantine for 14 days really does put our staffing situation in a pinch,” she said.
There are still one-way flights to Honolulu for just over $100, but many planes landing here are almost empty. According to the state, the total incoming passenger count for Tuesday was 4,131.
That’s compared to 35,930 the same day last year.
The quarantine rule is in effect indefinitely and anyone who breaks the mandate can face a $5,000 fine and up to a year in jail. The stay-at-home order, meanwhile, extends through April 30.