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HTA Using Spy Program to Watch Tourists
By News Release @ 6:04 PM :: 3753 Views :: Law Enforcement, Tourism, COVID-19

Highlights of Hawai‘i State Senate Special Committee of COVID-19 meeting of Tuesday, May 19

News Release from Hawaii Senate Democratic Caucus, May 22, 2020

With the aid of the citizen online group Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers helping out law enforcement, represented by Honolulu Police Department (HPD) Chief Susan Ballard, and Attorney General Clare Connors’ office, quarantine enforcement is continuously improving and both residents and visitors are becoming more aware of how strict the State is.

For example, with the most recent arrest of a man from New York City, the story was picked up by national news outlets like the New York Post, and was a useful signaling device for those who believe the law will not find them.

The Special Committee expressed the need to articulate to the public that this is a constant work-in-progress. Thanks to the insistence of the committee, new enforcement aides are now mandatory, such as requiring a return flight upon arrival for visitors, and mandatory bail of at least $2,000 for individuals arrested for quarantine violations.

The committee discussed the need to continue to work with agencies like HPD and the Department of Planning and Permitting as these processes evolve to allow for better enforcement of illegal vacation rentals and car rental services such as Turo.

In relation to these challenges, the Hawaii Tourism Authority discussed the soon-to-be-released ESRI program. The program has been a collaboration with the county enforcement agencies that will provide each agency near real-time layers of traveler information to aid in the enforcement of the quarantine orders. It allows all traveler information collected through the current processes to be integrated into its ArcGIS database so that dispatchers may confirm whether a suspected quarantine violator is, in fact, a resident or a traveler included on the required quarantine list.

The ESRI program will allow the information to be shared on a read-only basis. It’s expected to be rolled out this weekend.

Concerning illegal vacation rentals, the Special Committee discussed the possibility of creating a new form for renters, one that will hold them to the same level of accountability as a traveler, should the traveler be caught knowingly defying quarantine.

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RELATED: 'Safe Travels System' -- Quarantine App Turns Hawaii Into a Privacy Nightmare

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