Hawaii has zero patience for tourists who don't obey their coronavirus rules. Globetrotters who don't heed their quarantine rules will get shipped off the Pacific island. Hawaii is so serious about removing misbehaving guests that the state will even pay to fly them off the islands.
Travelers visiting Hawaii must quarantine for two weeks once they arrive, an order that was made effective on March 26 by Gov. David Ige. If visitors are caught not in lockdown during the state-mandated quarantine, Hawaii will send them packing.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the Hawaii Tourism Authority had a main objective of enticing travelers to the islands in the middle of the Pacific Island. Now, after the COVID-19 outbreak, the Hawaii Tourism Authority is diverting funds to pay for visitors to go back where they came from is they don't abide to quarantine orders.
Since the decision to ship out rule-breakers on April 1, the Hawaii Tourism Authority has set aside $25,000 to ensure that the state could deport travelers who refused to quarantine.
"So far, with $25,000 in funding from the Hawai'i Tourism Authority, the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawai'i or VASH has paid to send 19 people back to their airports of origin during the COVID-19 crisis," Hawaii's health department said on Thursday.
"The ability to return people quickly to their airports of origin during the coronavirus crisis greatly assists law enforcement's ability to ensure the success of our statewide emergency measures," Hawaii's Attorney General Clare Connors said in a statement. "The fact scarce government funds do not need to be expended for these return trips also helps fulfill the mission of keeping Hawaii safe."
A woman from Los Angeles was caught breaking the quarantine after she uploaded photos to her social media account, and she was sent back to California.
Two other travelers were caught disobeying the lockdown, but were given a second chance. However, they tried to circumvent the quarantine by checking into another hotel, but authorities tracked them down.
Hawaiian authorities can monitor visitors because there is hardly anyone coming to the islands. Only 438 arrived in Hawaii by air on Thursday, typically 30,000 travelers arrive each day this time of year, according to the Tourism Authority.
Hawaii has the fourth-least confirmed coronavirus cases of all the states, only trailing Wyoming, Montana, and Alaska. Hawaii has 604 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 14 deaths.