Tourists Arrested in Hawaii After Allegedly Lying About Vaccination Status
A pair of tourists were arrested in Hawaii over the weekend after allegedly lying about their vaccination status, according to the state's governor, David Ige.
The two visitors, who were from the mainland, were arrested at Honolulu's airport, Ige tweeted, after they apparently falsified vaccination cards to travel to the Aloha state.
Domestic travelers to Hawaii are required to either show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test from a "trusted partner" site in order to skip quarantine. Ige said falsifying a vaccination card comes with a fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment of up to one year.
"[Attorney General] investigators are committed to ensuring leads are investigated and thank the community for their assistance and support," Ige wrote. "Along those lines, the AG's office will investigate and prosecute those who cheat the Safe Travels program, which was established to keep our islands safe."
Ige added: "Investigators from the AG's office made the arrests after following up on a tip from a community member."
The tourists were arraigned on Wednesday. It was not immediately clear where they were traveling from.
The arrests come as Hawaii is cracking down on the spread of COVID-19, implementing new capacity restrictions on restaurants, bars, and gatherings. While travel remains unchanged, Ige said earlier this week he was evaluating the state's Safe Travels program.
This isn't the first time travelers have been caught trying to skirt the system. Last month, a pair of U.S. tourists were fined more than $15,000 each after they tried to enter Canada with fake vaccination and testing proof, according to the Canadian government. And last year, an American tourist was caught violating Canada's coronavirus travel restrictions at least twice when he snuck in a visit to Banff National Park.
Last month, tourists in Hawaii were also fined $500 by a federal agency for touching an endangered seal species — and posting about it on social media.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.