Hawaii has the strictest policies in place when it comes to trying to prevent the spread of coronavirus in its state. And for the most part it’s been working, as they only have 626 reported cases and 17 deaths.
If you arrive in Hawaii from anywhere, you will be forced to undergo a 14-day quarantine.
While under this quarantine, you are not allowed to leave your hotel room or residence except for emergencies.
And they mean it.
You cannot do things like head to the grocery store, pick up take-out, or anything along those lines. And those majestic strolls on the beautiful Hawaiian beaches? Completely off-limits.
But, tourists are still heading to Hawaii and violating these quarantine orders.
As a result, Hawaii has been arresting tourists as they’ve been caught hanging out at hotel pools, picking up groceries at Costco, and bringing back take out food to their hotel room.
In fact, at least 20 individuals have been arrested across the state for violating quarantine orders while many others have received warnings or citations. Fines can be up to $5,000 and jail time could be up to one year.
As you would expect, this policy has taken a huge hit on the island that depends so heavily upon tourism. The state has an unemployment rate which is estimated to be between 25% to 35%, largely because of the shut down in the tourism industry.
Consider that since March 26, Hawaii has received about 5,000 visitors. But before the pandemic, they would receive about 30,000 visitors every day.
Some local officials want visitors tracked via cell phones or perhaps even tested for the virus before they ever board a plane for Hawaii. Another route would be to require tourists to wear ankle bracelets for 14 days.
Currently, when travelers arrive officials will verify the accommodation arrangements and contact their hotels to let the hotels know that they have individuals arriving who must quarantine.
After that, local workers follow up numerous times to make sure that the individual is in quarantine. If they can’t get in touch with that person to verify the individual is in quarantine, they immediately alert law-enforcement.
These are some very strict policies but I don’t have much sympathy for those getting arrested since they know exactly what they are getting into by heading out to a place that is requiring a mandatory two-week quarantine.
Hawaii right now does not sound like a place that you would want to spend money to visit.
And if you already did spend money in the past, many airlines and hotels are being flexible with change policies so it shouldn’t be impossible to reschedule your trip.
Bottom line: You don’t want to head to Hawaii right now and if you do be sure to abide by quarantine rules or you might get arrested or fined big-time.
Daniel Gillaspia is the Founder of UponArriving.com and the credit card app, WalletFlo. He is a former attorney turned travel expert covering destinations along with TSA, airline, and hotel policies. Since 2014, his content has been featured in publications such as National Geographic, Smithsonian Magazine, and CNBC. Read my bio.