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‘They never checked in’: Hawaii woman raises questions about quarantine procedures

Published: Apr. 8, 2020 at 10:17 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 8, 2020 at 10:19 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii woman who returned from Europe and went into mandatory quarantine is questioning how the state is enforcing the order.

Her concerns come amid questions about whether the state is doing enough to stop the spread of coronavirus from those returning to the islands or from the small number of visitors still coming.

As of Tuesday, Hawaii was reporting 410 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

Kona resident Vaiva Winder was visiting family in Europe when Hawaii got its first coronavirus cases back in March.

To get home, she traveled 8,000 miles and through five airports – Istanbul, Turkey to New York City to Honolulu then home to Kona.

She landed on March 26, the day Governor David Ige ordered a 14-day quarantine for all out-of-state-travelers.

She filled out a form with her contact information upon arriving at the Kona airport, but said no one has checked to see if she’s complying with her quarantine.

"Because I traveled from New York, they said they're going to call me and make sure I'm self-quarantining, which I was expecting them to do. I had no intentions not to self-quarantine. But they never called me, they never checked in," Winder said.

She assures the public she is doing her part and staying in, but fears without routine check-ins, not everyone will do the same.

"I'm doing my part and if everyone would do their part, we would go through this much faster. But because of flaws in the system, we are going to be stuck in this for longer and that’s upsetting," she said.

Another gap in the system is vacation rentals still available in Hawaii, with some places showing a $146 cheaper-than-usual rate.

“If a visitor comes in to Daniel K. Inouye International Airport and they put on their ag form that they’re staying at a vacation rental, that is not permitted,” said Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

Maui Police are also faced with people ignoring the stay-at-home order.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said officers issued 114 citations and arrested six people for violations this past week.

In addition, Victorino said Hawaii National Guardsmen caught two visitors from California who flew into Kahului on Monday with no plans for lodging.

“Gave them a choice, either you go home, or you’ll be arrested. Both chose to return home and I’m proud to say they did,” said Victorino.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority has awarded the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii (VASH) $25,000 to send people back who don't have a confirmed place of lodging.

The COVID-19 Flight Assistance Program has been in effect since Monday.

So far, VASH officials said they sent eight people back.

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