Welcome to Hawaii. Here’s your ankle monitor: Stronger policies to track tourists eyed

Updated: Apr. 24, 2020 at 4:34 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Attorney General Clare Connors is considering the legality of using tracking devices to ensure tourists are following the rules of the 14-day, mandatory quarantine.

Connors told members of the state Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 that some of the ideas being proposed to track visitors could pose constitutional questions and she is exploring those concerns.

“I think it runs the gamut of what they’re doing in Taiwan, which is you wear an ankle bracelet for 14 days and if it goes outside your hotel room, it pings and that’s the only information that gets conveyed to the 24/7 GPS where we know exactly where you are, what you’re doing at all times," Connors said.

Attorney Victor Bakke didn’t seem too concerned about the ankle monitor idea but agreed that GPS tracking could be a problem.

He said the forced lock down of a person is already a violation of rights, but the exception is the motive for it — the public health crisis and to ensure the safety of Hawaii residents.

In recent days, tourists have been cited, arrested, even forced to turn around and go back to the mainland after violating the mandatory quarantine.

Bakke said the state should do more before they even get here.

There are about 100 visitors a day arriving in Hawaii and Bakke said officials should call each visitor days ahead to verify they are aware of the strict rules and are willing to sign the documents acknowledging compliance.

Meanwhile, state lawmakers contended the online travel websites are not doing enough to notify people of the state quarantine and asked the attorney general to contact the businesses

State Sen. Donna Mercado Kim checked various popular sites offering cheap fares to the state and cheap hotel room rates, too. “It just says your travel may be impacted. If you go to Trivago, it just says the outbreak may impact your travel plans,” she said.

Senate President Ronald Kouchi has called on the governor to adopt health screenings at airports and suggested supervising the tourists as they get from the airport to their hotel.

Connors is also looking into the use of a quarantine hotel to better track the movements of tourists.

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