The number of visitors coming to Hawaii despite a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine has been slowly rising since Thursday.
The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that Sunday’s trans-Pacific passenger count was 583, including 126 visitors and 233 residents. The count also included 151 airline crew members, 38 transit passengers, and 29 intended new residents for Oahu and six for Kona.
The number of visitors on Saturday was 106, it was 94 on Friday and 89 on Thursday. Officials don’t know why Hawaii’s count of visitors by air has increased this week. But anecdotally, they think some of the visitors are coming to take advantage of cheap deals. Others might be second-home owners or vacation renters seeking to hunker down in Hawaii rather than where they live, where COVID-19 cases and restrictions could be even worse.
Since March 26, when Gov. David Ige instituted a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for all arriving trans-Pacific passengers, 1,602 visitors have come into the state. That quarantine was expanded to include interisland travelers on Wednesday. A count of interisland passengers is not yet available.
Violations of the quarantine mandate could result in a misdemeanor with fines up to $5,000 and/or up to one year in prison, or both.
While the count has been going up recently it’s still significantly below historic levels. Normally, at this time of year, roughly 300,000 visitors would have come during the same period. In March 2019, average daily passenger counts were above 30,000.
In March 2019, HTA reported that there was an average of 253,498 visitors statewide on any given day. That same month, some 939,064 visitors visited the Hawaiian islands and 927,246 came by air.