As inter-island quarantine begins, Maui says it’s flooded with exemption requests

Updated: Aug. 13, 2020 at 7:45 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - It is day two of the inter-island travel quarantine requirement and Maui County has already received thousands of exemption requests.

"We did receive a significant amount of exemption requests, more than what we were expecting. Over 2,000 just within the last few days," said Managing Director Sandy Baz.

Baz said dozens of staff members are sifting through them, but responses are expected to take roughly five days. He is asking people not to submit duplicate requests because that is causing delays.

“We are going through them diligently. We have dozens of people, dozens of our staff going through every single one of those requests and getting to people as soon as possible. So if you haven’t received a response yet, just be patient, you will,” Baz said.

In the meantime, families are making sacrifices.

"Our son is here for surgery," said Maui resident Kawika Kiesling.

Kahiau, 18 months old, is undergoing surgery on Oahu Thursday morning.

“It actually made it really difficult because we have two other children at home. So, we had to figure out care for them while we were here,” said Kawika.

Kawika and his wife Keri decided their family of five will quarantine for two weeks when they get home.

People traveling for medical reasons or essential business are still required to quarantine when not at work or at a doctor’s appointment.

Travelers say the new rules are confusing.

“I think a lot of it is just the disconnect between leaders and boots on the ground,” said Oahu resident Michael Glidden.

Glidden got an exemption for a one-day work trip to Kona. His request was approved within two hours, but his coworker’s request was initially denied.

“It’s reasonable to expect some growing pains. But if this really was a public health issue, they should be more consistent,” he said.

As for the Kieslings, they understand the reason for the mandate – but it still makes it difficult.

“We had to pray a lot before we came and we really love our son and he needed this surgery,” Kawika said.

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