Hawaii Governor David Ige is mandating all visitors arriving in the US island state to self-quarantine for 14 days to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The mandate, which is the first such action in the nation, applies to all arrivals at state airports from the continental US and international destinations, and extends to other private and commercial aircraft.
All visitors arriving through Hawaii’s airports will be required to complete a Hawaii Department of Agriculture form that will be distributed onboard their flight. They will retain the form when disembarking the aircraft.
Upon arrival, visitors will go through a checkpoint and present the completed form with a valid identification. Checkpoint staff will validate the form and issue documentation that certifies they cleared the checkpoint.
The form also includes information on the mandatory requirements for the 14-day quarantine along with penalties.
Failure to follow this order is a misdemeanour and is punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000, or imprisonment of not more than one year, or both. Enforcement will be handled by each of Hawaii’s four counties.
This mandate follows Governor Ige’s request on last week that all travellers suspend their travel to Hawaii for 30 days. He also requested the closure of all bars, clubs, theatres, entertainment centres, and visitor attractions across the state.
Restaurants were also asked to close or provide drive-thru, take out, pick-up, or delivery. The Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources also closed all state parks in addition to commercial ocean and trail tours on 20 March.
John Monahan, president and CEO of the Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau, said: “Hawaii has a longstanding tradition of welcoming visitors from around the world.
“Like other destinations around the globe, the health and wellbeing of our visitors and visitor industry employees, ohana (families), our communities, health care professionals, and healthcare system is our primary focus at this time.
“We are urging visitors to postpone their trips to Hawaii to give us the opportunity to curtail the impacts of COVID-19 in our communities and be better prepared to welcome travellers back to the islands when the time is right.
“We extend our mahalo (thanks) to everyone for their understanding during these challenging times.”
Featured image credit: iStock/raksyBH