New York Tourist Arrested After Posting Hawaii Beach Photos
A tourist from New York was arrested for allegedly violating Hawaii's traveler quarantine after he posted on Instagram photos of himself sunbathing and carrying a surfboard, state officials said.
Hawaii authorities have been cracking down on travelers who defy a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the islands, a rule put in place to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
As of Saturday, Hawaii reported two new cases of COVID-19, bringing the statewide total 639 cases and 17 deaths.
Some tourists have been arrested for defying the quarantine.
Tarique Peters, 23, of the Bronx, arrived in Honolulu on Monday, said a news release from the Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center.
“He allegedly left his hotel room the day he arrived and traveled many places using public transportation,” the release said. “Authorities became aware of his social media posts from citizens who saw posts of him — on the beach with a surfboard, sunbathing, and walking around Waikiki at night.”
Agents from the state attorney general's office arrested him Friday morning. Hotel staff told the agents they saw Peters leave his room and the hotel numerous times.
Travelers in quarantine aren't allowed to leave hotel rooms or residences for any reason except medical emergencies. Hotel guests don't receive housekeeping services and must arrange for food to be delivered to them.
Peters was booked, and his bail was set at $4,000.
He couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday. He didn't immediately respond to messages on an Instagram account with the handle @tariquepeters.
A photo from two days ago with the location “Honolulu - Waikiki Beach" shows him carrying a surfboard on a beach. A photo from May 4 shows him wearing a mask in New York City's Bryant Park.
Lawmakers have been struggling with how to enhance enforcement of the quarantine as people keep arriving to Hawaii. On Thursday, 252 visitors and 318 residents arrived, according to the Hawaii Tourism Authority. During the same time last year, nearly 30,000 passengers arrived in the tourism-dependent state daily.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.