Stay Home or Go to Jail
No one expected COVID-19 to impact their lives as significantly as it has. 13.6 million Americans are unemployed as of August 2020, which may increase in the coming months, and citizens are forced to adjust to a lifestyle that defies human nature: Quarantine.
As inherently social beings, people are understandably having a hard time transitioning into a socially-distant, mask-wearing and high health-risk society. As such, quarantine violations have been quite common in Honolulu whether intentional or not. In fact, the Honolulu Police Department (HPD) has reported thousands of arrests and citations since March, demonstrating the seriousness of the state’s quarantine orders.
It’s worth noting that the HPD is actively encouraging citizens to report quarantine violators, meaning anyone who sees you “breaking the rules” may cause you to get arrested and face criminal charges. For example, taking a walk, playing with your child in the park or forgetting your mask in the car could raise red flags and result in an unfavorable accusation.
Penalties for Violating Quarantine Orders
The governor of Hawaii has the power to adopt and enforce emergency rules such as quarantine and stay-at-home orders, according to H.R.S. 127A-25. Currently, Hawaii has the following orders in place:
- A mandatory quarantine order for those who test positive for COVID-19.
- A 2-week self-quarantine order (with exemptions) on travelers entering the state, regardless of their COVID-19 status, and inter-island travelers.
- Stay-at-home restrictions apply to all people in Hawaii.
If you violate any of the above orders, you may face a misdemeanor charge punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to 1 year in jail, which is the last place you want to be during a global pandemic. Further, if you are entering Hawaii from another state and do not arrange a location to self-quarantine, the state can arrest you unless you go home. Or the state may designate an accommodation for you but on your dime.