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Monday brought hundreds of visitors to Hawaii, some to stay in illegal vacation rentals

  • JAMM AQUINO/JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Shuttered storefronts and an empty courtyard at the Haleiwa Marketplace is seen April 25, 2020 in Haleiwa. The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that 286 out-of-state visitors came to Hawaii by air on Monday.

    JAMM AQUINO/JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Shuttered storefronts and an empty courtyard at the Haleiwa Marketplace is seen April 25, 2020 in Haleiwa. The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that 286 out-of-state visitors came to Hawaii by air on Monday.

The Hawaii Tourism Authority reported today that 286 out-of-state visitors came to Hawaii by air on Monday, a heavier day for visitor traffic than the day Hawaii’s tourism lockdown started.

On March 26, the state began a mandatory 14-day self quarantine for trans-Pacific passengers. Some 268 visitors were among the passengers that day.

Altogether, 893 trans-Pacific passengers arrived Monday, including 339 residents. On the 14 flights that came, there also were 137 airline crew members, 44 transit passengers who are catching other flights and 85 intended new residents for Oahu and two for Maui. Some 268 visitors traveled to Oahu and 18 went to Maui.

The state defines visitors as everyone with an out-of-state ID who plans to leave Hawaii after a period of time. Intended residents are those with out-of-state IDs who say they plan to stay here. The intended residents category might include military personnel, college students, people moving to Hawaii to live with their families, and homeless individuals.

Arriving passenger counts remain well below last year when most of the 30,000 or so passengers arriving daily were visitors. In April 2019, 856,250 visitors came to Hawaii. In March 2019, 939,064 visitors came to Hawaii.

From March 26 through Monday, HTA has reported that only 7,128 visitors came to Hawaii.

That’s still too many for some, including state lawmakers who are working to close loopholes in the quarantine and hold more violators accountable.

Gov. David Ige’s latest proclamation banned rental car companies from renting to anyone who is under a 14-day quarantine.

HTA also has asked hotels to issue single-use room keys to quarantining guests upon check-in. HTA and the state Department of Transportation also have made improvements to the way they screen arriving passengers at the airport and make compliance checks.

The backside of the Hawaii Agriculture Declaration Form is optional, but most visitors filled it out on Monday. As many as 102 of the 230 visitors or 44% of those that filled out questions about the purpose of their trip included “coming to visit friends and relatives” as part of the reason for their trip.

The next highest category of visitors, some 76 or 33% of the 230 that answered the question, indicated government or business as part of the reason for their trip. Only 17 0r 7% out of the 230 said they were coming for a honeymoon or some other form of vacation.

As many as 113 out of 225 visitors that filled out the form’s questions about lodging or some 50% said they stayed with friends and relatives. Only 49 or 22% out of 225 said they stayed at a hotel.

Some 32 of the 225 respondents or 14% said they stayed at a vacation rental accommodation, ranging from a private or shared room to a whole unit. That’s concerning given that vacation rentals are considered non-essential businesses across all islands and visitors aren’t allowed to stay there.

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