New York Tourist Arrested in Hawaii for Violating Social Distancing Rules amid Coronavirus Pandemic
Tarique Peters was arrested in Oahu after leaving his hotel room and using public transportation before his mandatory quarantine period was complete
A tourist from New York was arrested on Friday morning in Oahu, Hawaii, after violating the state's mandatory 14-day quarantine rule.
Tarique Peters, 23, arrived in Oahu days before on Monday after traveling from his home in the Bronx. Peters left his hotel room the day he arrived, used public transportation and posted numerous pictures of himself on Instagram documenting his trip, according to a statement from Hawaii’s governor's office.
Peters was arrested by special agents once authorities became aware of his posts on social media, which included photos of him sunbathing, surfing on the beach and watching the sunset. He was booked and his bail is set at $4,000.
The posts show that Peters was in direct violation of the state’s rules regarding travelers in light of the coronavirus pandemic. All outside visitors to Hawaii are required to self-quarantine for two weeks before leaving their hotel room or residence.
They are also required to fill out a document that says violating the quarantine is a criminal offense punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to a year in prison, according to the state's transportation department website.
“We appreciate the assistance of local people who spot flagrant violations of our emergency rules on various social media sites and report them to the appropriate authorities,” Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors said in the statement.
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Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced last week that the state has “flattened the curve,” likely due to its relative self-isolation.
“The numbers continue to look very good,” he said in a statement on May 5. “With only one new case announced today, we are confident that we have flattened the curve.”
As of May 15, Hawaii had a total count of 638 COVID-19 cases since Feb. 28, along with 17 deaths from the virus. The island state has one of the lowest case totals in the U.S. and is working on slowly reopening, but the mandatory quarantine rules have been extended through the end of June.
Ige allowed several non-essential businesses, such as florists, car dealerships and golf courses to resume last week, but warned that if officials see a second wave of COVID-19 cases they will have to reevaluate the decision.
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