Big Island Coronavirus Updates

Gov. Ige Mandates 14-Day Quarantine for All Travelers Starting March 26

March 21, 2020, 4:58 PM HST
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Gov. David Ige has mandated a 14-day quarantine for all travelers coming to Hawai‘i starting next week in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Ige said, this mandate is the first of its kind in the nation. It will go into effect on March 26, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.

“We need everyone to comply with these orders because the safety and wellfare of the people of Hawai‘i is our number one priority,” Ige said.

The mandate is not going immediately into effect in order to allow industry partners to made adjustments as appropriate. Ige added each county would be responsible for enforcing this mandate. Only passengers who come after the mandated start time would be subject to quarantine. However, they are encouraged to voluntarily quarantine.

Failure to follow this order will be a misdemeanor, punishable by a $5,000 fine and one year imprisonment.

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“We know our economy will suffer because of this action, but these actions are necessary,” Ige said. “We believe this will flatten the curve — we need everyone to comply with these orders.”

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Officials will keep track of incoming travelers through the agriculture forms filled on the flight prior to landing.

Kenneth Hara, Director of Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, said, after travelers disembark a plane, they will proceed to a checkpoint where their forms will be checked. The state will then collect the forms.

If a traveler is a Hawai‘i resident, their quarantine will be at their home. If they are a visitor, Hara said, their quarantine will be the lodging they indicated on the agriculture form.

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Those quarantined may leave their designated areas for medical care only.

There are currently 48 positive or presumptive cases in Hawai‘i. Hara said all cases have been linked to travel or contact with a traveler, which is why they believe these measures are important to mitigate the spread of the virus and prevent it from being imported to the state.

Ige worked with industry partners prior to coming to this decision.

Peter Ingram, CEO of Hawaiian Airlines, spoke at the press conference thanking the governor for working with them.

“Our responsibility to our guests is to get them back home,” Ingram said.

While he understands this action will restrict travel and impact the airline, Ingram said, they plan to adjust domestic flights to a bare bones level.

“Inter-island flights will continue,” he said, adding the 180 flight schedules will also be reduced.

Flight crews, including pilots and attendants, will not be required to comply with the mandatory quarantine, as long as they stay at the airport. If they leave, Hara said, they will be temperature checked and must adhere to the governor’s order.

Ige said there is no other time in the history of the planet where this has occurred.

“The best thing we can do is we need to work together,” he said. “No one knows how to do that better than here in Hawai‘i.”

Honolulu County Mayor Kirk Caldwell wanted to emphasize that that the counties and private sector partners stand united with Ige’s decision.

“We’re united in taking action,” Caldwell said. “We want to thank partners in private sectors. I believe this is the most difficult times the state of Hawai‘i, the territory of Hawai‘i, the Republic of Hawai‘i, the Kingdom of Hawai‘i has ever faced.”

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