Hawaii, amid the coronavirus pandemic, has begun paying its visitors to leave.
Hawaii’s state agency that is dedicated to welcoming tourists to the state is temporarily helping those visitors leave. The Hawaii Tourism Authority has set aside $25,000 for the costs of sending tourists away if they refuse to abide by the state’s 14-day quarantine period.
Hawaii has reported at least 596 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 12 deaths.
Hawaii Governor David Ige established a mandatory two-week self-quarantine for any out-of-state visitors and inter-island travellers on April 1. Since then, officials have encouraged tourists not to travel to the state.
Outbound travel arrangements are being handled by the Visitor Aloha Society, a non-profit group that normally helps tourists in Hawaii deal with problems during their visit, such as theft or a medical emergency, the state said, in a press release.
The Visitor Aloha Society arranges for the travel back home, and pays for the ticket if the visitor can’t afford it.
To this end, 19 people have so far been flown back to their airports of origin since the beginning of the emergency.
In some cases, the violators have been prosecuted for misdemeanours and forced to pay a fine.