Two passengers arriving in Hawaii tried to bribe their way out of the state’s mandatory 10-day quarantine. The two travelers offered an airport screener a total of $3,000 to let them leave without going into quarantine. They were promptly arrested and flown back to the mainland after the screener informed authorities.
Passengers arrested after offering screener a bribe
Johntrell White, 29, and Nadia Bailey, 28, both from Louisiana, arrived at Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu last Friday. Under Hawaii’s rules, both travelers were required to complete a 10-day quarantine as neither had a negative COVID test or exemption.
According to Hawaii’s Department of Public Safety, White offered a member of the airport screening staff $2,000 to let him through without having to quarantine. Bailey then offered the screener a further $1,000 to also allow her through.
The airport screener immediately alerted deputy sheriffs before the pair were arrested for bribery. The two were released from custody and flown back to their point of origin. Hawaii’s Attorney’s General Office is still investigating the issue.
Hawaii upholds its strict quarantine policy
As part of Hawaii’s Safe Travels program, travelers arriving into the state must present a negative COVID test, conducted within 72 hours of travel, or proof of exemption. Without such documents, travelers must quarantine for a mandatory 10-day period or for the duration of their trip, whichever is shorter. Additionally, temperature checks are conducted at the airport upon arrival, while some counties in Hawaii require a second COVID test after arrival.
Simple Flying explored Hawaii’s Safe Travel program in detail last year, with tips on how to avoid quarantining (that don’t involve bribery). The program is stricter than most other states in the US, with passengers required to go through ‘trusted testing and travel partners’ (full list here). It must be a Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT), which includes the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. According to its official website,
“The negative test result must be uploaded onto Safe Travels prior to departure or printed out prior to departure and hard copy in hand when arriving in Hawai‘i.”
Additionally, a Safe Travels online form must be completed prior to departure, with travelers required to make an account and register their details. While it is possible to turn up at the airport with a hard copy of your test result, uploading it to the Safe Travels platform will significantly reduce your screening and processing time. You will also need to register each leg of your journey, with a QR code issued to speed up airport processing.
Authorities arrest a man breaking his quarantine
On the very same day the attempted bribery occurred, Special Agents from the Attorney General’s Investigations Division arrested a tourist who violated his quarantine period. Anthony Johnson, a 44-year-old from Michigan, was caught on a boat ramp preparing to take a dip in the ocean. He was caught after intentionally checking in to another hotel to try and avoid the mandatory 10-day quarantine.