Skip to comments.Breaking Quarantine In Hawaii? A Citizensí Group Is Watching
Posted on 05/31/2020 5:56:20 PM PDT by kaehurowing
Breaking Quarantine In Hawaii? A Citizens Group Is Watching
The group, seeing gaps in enforcement, has helped state and local investigators track down scofflaw tourists.
By Yoohyun Jung
A group of Hawaii residents has taken on the role of enforcers of the states COVID-19 travel quarantine, scouring social media and fielding tips to track down visitors ignoring the requirement to isolate for 14 days after arrival.
Take the case of 20-year-old Artyon Zhiryada and 19-year-old Dan Vlasenko, who posted a video of Zhiryada shooting a feral chicken with a spear gun. They were arrested May 22 after Hawaii citizens found their video, tracked their social media accounts, discovered their location and reported them to special agents.
We were the ones that actually found their location, said Angela Keen, a former TV news reporter and administrator of the Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers, the community group that helped state investigators find Zhiryada and Vlasenko. They were all over social media.
The Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers helped state authorities catch some visitors who were violating quarantine.
The group has also reported others they saw as rule-breakers, most of whom were visitors, connecting the dots and bridging gaps in enforcement of the emergency rules, Keen said. In about a dozen cases, the groups efforts have led to investigations and arrests.
Law enforcement officials, including Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors, say the community and social media are playing an important role in enforcement of COVID-19 stay-at-home and quarantine orders.
We appreciate the assistance of local people who spot flagrant violations of our emergency rules on various social media sites and report them to the appropriate authorities, Connors said in a May 15 news release.
Keen said the group has faced criticism for being against tourism, but thats not the point.
It really all boils down to keeping Hawaii safe, keeping my neighbors safe, keeping my colleagues safe, she said. Weve managed to have the lowest rates for a reason and we want to keep it that way. We want visitors to come back when its safe to come back.
Hawaii has been under a statewide stay-at-home order since March 23 and enacted a 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors March 26. As of Saturday, there have been 651 cases of COVID-19, a relatively small number compared with the rest of the United States.
Legislators and community members say enforcement gaps have allowed some arrivals to Hawaii to dodge the travel quarantine.
Although the number of visitors flying into the state has drastically decreased, it hasnt completely stopped: more than 12,000 have come since March 26. Thats an average of about 188 visitors a day, although on some days in April, fewer than 100 arrived.
State legislators and community members worried that some visitors were not following quarantine requirements and state authorities were failing to catch them. The Senate Special Committee on COVID-19 pointed out last month that airport officials needed to keep better track of arrivals.
If you cant catch them, you cant catch them, Sen. Donna Mercado Kim said at the April 30 hearing. But a lot of these people are blatantly violating (the quarantine).
Keen said there were many gaps in the states process, which is why the community felt the need to step in.
The dots were not connecting, she said.
That was evident in the case of Aarona Lopez, a homeless YouTube comedian who flew from Los Angeles to Oahu in April and went straight to an encampment in Waimanalo.
Knowing she was coming from L.A., which at that time was a hot spot, and knowing she was immediately out in the community, I saw it as a risk, Keen said.
Lopez had reportedly listed a post office box as her quarantine address. Kapu Breakers tracked her on social media such as Facebook Live and fielded tips from eyes on the ground, Keen said.
Lopez was eventually sent back to California.
The groups volunteers come from a variety of occupations, including hospitality workers, airline staff, attorneys and executives.
Most importantly, she said, they try to make sure they have their facts before calling anyone out.
The group does not encourage members to take matters into their own hands, but instead sends its cases to authorities.
We want to be pono and we want to protect our community and thats the main thing, she said. Id rather that we have a healthy community and healthy Hawaii than to have folks here at the wrong time. If they love Hawaii and they know theyre putting people at risk they wouldnt come here.
Honolulu Police Department Deputy Chief John McCarthy says visitors havent been a particular concern.
Honolulu Police Deputy Chief John McCarthy says his department has sought voluntary compliance during the pandemic.
When you think about it, the majority of the people who are flying are local residents, he said. Returning residents comprised the largest percentage of arrivals between March 26 and May 28, according to Hawaii Tourism Authority data.
The challenge in enforcing stay-at-home or quarantine violations, he said, was figuring out the limits of police practices.
You cant be stopping people randomly, he said. Its just bad practice, bad law enforcement.
He added, Our focus from the very beginning was to gain compliance, not to do enforcement. We still have got to uphold the Constitution as well.
Social media has definitely played a role in enforcing emergency rules, McCarthy said, with some people giving themselves away by posting their acts online.
Youre basically handing me the evidence, he said.
On Kauai, the community has played a big role in enforcing rules.
Todd Raybuck, the Kauai police chief, said calls for service have gone up significantly since the pandemic began. In April, Kauai police received 2,816 calls related to COVID-19.
The community has been very active in notifying the police department about perceived or actual violations, he said. What weve always wanted is for the community as a whole, including any tourists that come, to be self-compliant.
The success on Kauai in preventing a wider spread of the virus is a testament to the cooperation of the community, he said.
Im just grateful that we are on that path to return to whatever the new normal is, he said.
How East German of them!
This would be the perfect time to go to Hawaii but not if you cant even go to the pool. I have a great pool at home.
Im just grateful that we are on that path to return to whatever the new normal is.
Im just grateful that we are on that path to return to whatever the new normal is.
Most living here are fine with shutting out tourists until this blows over. One of the benefits being on islands.
Killing the tourist industry, but the lack of thousands of rental cars clogging the highways is great.
Remember when people in the USA used to say quaint things like ‘it could never happen here’? Heh, that was so cute.
Papers please, do you have a web posting permit?
Can we throw Hawaii out of the Union?
Sell it to Japan?
If someone gets into trouble over the quarantine, just start rioting and chant about racist oppression. They will not be opposed.
No surprise here. The people of Hawaii HATE tourists. Other Americans should never forget this tyranny by snitches displaying their hatred of those who fund the state with tourism.
I'll never go back to that shithole. There are nice neighborhoods near the tourist areas and military bases. The rest of the entire state is a white-hating welfare slum.
“Are you wasting reichsmarks? The sturmabteilung is watching!”
“Comrades! Inform on your neighbors!”
IOW, she was a bum, adding to the homeless problem. "Encampent" is liberal speak for a morass of tents, tarps, and garbage, infested by bums.
Visit Hawaii and get the s*** beat out of you by Dah Bruddahs who are officially racially superior to “haoles”. Look up “Kill a Haole Day”.
If it wasn’t for the need for our bases, I would love for the ChiComs to take over because they know how to deal with dangerous minorities.
Tell an armed Chicom “I ain’t afraid of your m***f***ing gun!!”
The quarantine is so yesterday. Get with it, Karens and riot!
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