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Visitor who violated Hawaii’s travel quarantine rules to be escorted back to airport

UPDATE: 7:30 P.M.

A 37-year-old woman accused of arriving in Hawaii without a place to stay was sent back to Los Angeles Friday night after she was charged with violating a mandated 14-day quarantine to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Aarona Browning-Lopez appeared before Judge Alvin Nishimura at District Court Friday via video conferencing from a cellblock in the building after she was charged with violating an emergency order and unsworn falsification to authorities.

All visitors and arriving residents at Hawaii’s airports are required to complete a state Department of Agriculture form. Under the emergency order, visitors are to quarantine at hotels or rented lodging.

Returning residents are required to quarantine in their homes.

During the hearing, deputy attorney general Amy Murakami said Browning-Lopez listed a Ward Avenue address of a marketplace on the form.

Violators of the 14-day quarantine face penalties of up to a $5,000 fine and one year in jail.

Under a plea agreement, Browning-Lopez pleaded no contest to the charges and is banned from returning to Hawaii while the emergency order is in place.

Investigators of the Department of the Attorney General were to escort her directly from the cell block at District Court to the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport tonight to board a flight back to Los Angeles.

YouTube videos made by Browning-Lopez, who identifies herself using the surname Lopez, document her move to Hawaii. Two videos posted Wednesday show HPD officers talking to her while she sits outside in the dark in front of a pitched tent.

The officers can be heard saying Browning-­Lopez does not have a Hawaii driver’s license. She said she was “working on getting a full-time address, ’cause I’m trying to get hired at the Walmart.”

Browning-Lopez said she was “trying to escape abuse” and shared in a video that she had previously lived in Miami.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

A woman who flew to Hawaii without a place to stay was arrested Thursday for allegedly violating emergency rules in place because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Aarona Browning-Lopez, 37, has not yet been charged, but her bail was set at $500.

Honolulu Police Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said officers had warned and cited a 37-year-old woman Wednesday night in an undisclosed part of Oahu before arresting her Thursday at 1 p.m. in Kalihi.

During a COVID-19 briefing earlier in the day, Mayor Kirk Caldwell described a visitor who flew into Oahu on Monday and listed her address as a “commercial establishment. It’s basically a mailbox. … It’s not a residence. It’s not a hotel.”

Alexander Zannes, Caldwell’s communications director, later confirmed that Caldwell was talking about Browning-Lopez.

The arrest comes as government officials are making a push to keep ­visitors away from Hawaii to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“This person, of course, had nowhere to stay and then proceeded to travel to different places, including in the Waimanalo area,” Caldwell said. “And folks got very upset, because, you know, they’re concerned about someone (who) may have the virus. They’re not quarantined … and they’re endangering the broader public.”

Violating the two-week quarantine is a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum fine of $5,000 and a year in jail.

YouTube videos made presumably by Browning- Lopez, who identifies herself using the surname Lopez, document her move to Hawaii. Two videos posted Wednesday show HPD officers talking to her while she sits outside in the dark in front of a pitched tent.

The officers can be heard saying Browning-­Lopez does not have a Hawaii driver’s license. She said she was “working on getting a full-time address, ’cause I’m trying to get hired at the Walmart.”

Browning-Lopez said she was “trying to escape abuse” and shared in a video that she had previously lived in Miami.

Jessica Lani Rich, president and CEO of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, called HPD on Wednesday night and offered to arrange a flight to send Browning-Lopez back home that night, but could not because Browning-­Lopez is scheduled to appear in court today.

VASH’s 2-week-old COVID-19 Flight Assistance Program, funded by the Hawaii Tourism Authority, already has been used to send back travelers who have not made accommodations for a mandatory 14-day quarantine upon entering Hawaii.

Click here to see our full coverage of the coronavirus outbreak. Submit your coronavirus news tip.

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