The Hawaii Tourism Authority has set aside $25,000 for the cost of sending tourists if they refuse to comply with the state’s 14-day quarantine.
The state said in a press release that overseas travel arrangements are being handled by the Visitor Aloha Society, a nonprofit group that normally helps tourists to Hawaii deal with issues while visiting. , such as theft or a medical emergency.
“The ability to quickly return people to their home airports during the coronavirus crisis greatly assists law enforcement’s ability to ensure the success of our statewide emergency measures,” said Hawaii State Attorney General Clare Connors said in a statement. “The fact that scarce government funds don’t need to be spent on these return trips also helps fulfill the mission of keeping Hawaii safe.”
Nineteen people have been repatriated to their home airports since the start of the emergency.
In some cases, offenders have been prosecuted for misdemeanors and forced to pay a fine. The Visitor Aloha Society arranges the return trip and pays for the ticket if the visitor cannot afford it.
Hawaii Governor David Ige established a mandatory two-week self-quarantine for all out-of-state visitors and inter-island travelers on April 1.
The office had said it hoped to reduce travel to the state to prevent its health system from being overwhelmed due to the isolated nature of the islands.
“It is our responsibility to ensure the safety of visitors and residents,” Monahan wrote in the letter, “and therefore to request that anything written about Hawaii strongly discourage travelers from visiting Hawaii unless otherwise directed by from our state officials”.