A Maine man vacationing in Hawaii spent a weekend in jail and got kicked off the island of Oahu with a one-way ticket back to the mainland earlier this week because he was allegedly walking in public without a face mask instead of quarantining as state law requires.
Sean Michael Simon, 38, of Bangor pleaded in court on Monday to violating Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine law and was immediately taken to the airport, according to the Hawaii Department of Health. The Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii paid for the ticket.
Special agents from the Hawaii Attorney General’s Office arrested him after a general manager of a Waikiki-area hotel reported on June 19 that a guest who had arrived on June 10 was walking around without a mask. Hotel video allegedly recorded Simon leaving the hotel on two days, according to the department.
Simon allegedly admitted going to the beach and shopping several times every day during his stay. He spent the weekend in jail before his arraignment, according to the department.
Hawaii was the first state to set a mandatory 14-day quarantine period, signed on March 21 and effective five days later. It requires visitors to stay at their designated quarantine areas — in this case, a hotel room — for which the only visitors allowed are emergency medical workers or others permitted by state order.
They are not allowed outside for any reason except medical emergencies, according to the order.
Violators of Gov. David Y. Ige’s executive order can face a $5,000 fine, a year imprisonment or both. Ige extended the order to June 30, according to the Washington Post, as part of his efforts to arrest the spread of coronavirus in Hawaii, which attracted more than 10 million tourists last year.
Upon arrival, visitors to Hawaii are required to fill out a form identifying themselves, acknowledging the law and detailing their travel itinerary, before undergoing a health screening at the airport.
The Maui Police Department goes so far as to post wanted posters of tourists suspected of violating the quarantine on its Facebook page to get public help in catching them.
As of Thursday, Hawaii had 850 cases, including 16 new cases that day, and 17 deaths, according to hawaii.gov.
Correction: The original headline of this story stated that Simon was kicked off the island because he wasn’t wearing a face mask, rather than for violating the 14-day state-mandated quarantine.