State takes digital step to improve traveler quarantine order

State takes digital step to improve traveler quarantine order
(Image: Hawaii News Now/file)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state is taking steps to upgrade the mandatory 14-day quarantine process for incoming air travelers.

Friday was the first day travelers to the state were told to log onto safetravels.hawaii.gov to register themselves, their itinerary — and agree to the state’s mandatory quarantine measures.

The state said travelers must check in daily and they will be constantly reminded to show they are in self quarantine.

They must also answer questions about their health during the 14 days.

There have been constant questions and concerns from community members about tourists following quarantine orders.

“The use of technology will expedite and improve our ability to enforce this self quarantine requirement for all the travelers,” Director of the Hawaii Dept. of Taxation Rona Suzuki said.

If travelers don’t use the online site, they will be instructed to fill out the paper forms that have been used since the start of the order.

Suzuki said Friday there is a team of people responsible for follow-up actions to ensure quarantine orders are being followed.

The state added that they cannot use or track a traveler’s phone or location to ensure they aren’t out and about.

“We’re still looking into options with this. The application only asks for your location services when you initially submit your registration," said Suzuki. "Thereafter, on the 14-day check-ins, it does not re-ask or re-capture your information.”

If the traveler does not have the funds to quarantine for 14 days, they can either be arrested for breaking the quarantine requirements or fly back home.

“I have had several visitors say to me, ‘The reason we’re coming to Hawaii right now is because the flights are cheap and so are the hotel rooms,’” said Jessica Lani Rich, the director for the COVID-19 Flight Assistance Program.

Rich said they have already sent nine people back this week.

“They should really be thinking about this is COVID-19 quarantine time. Do not come to Hawaii. Be considerate of our residents,” said Rich.

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