HONOLULU — U.S. District Court Judge Jill A. Otake denied a motion Wednesday, for a preliminary injunction, from a South Carolina traveler who challenged the State of Hawai‘i’s current mandatory traveler quarantine.
In a 25-page long ruling, Judge Otake pointed out that, “Like many states across the nation and countries around the world, Hawai‘i has issued a series of Emergency Proclamations to limit the spread of COVID–19, a novel severe acute respiratory illness with no known cure, no effective treatment, and no vaccine…Further complicating efforts to contain COVID-19 is the fact that individuals who are infected but asymptomatic … may unwittingly infect others.”
The plaintiff, his wife, and two children arrived in Honolulu on July 9 and their mandatory 14-day quarantine is scheduled to end tomorrow. Plaintiff argued that, though he was aware of the quarantine rule before coming to Hawai‘i, it will cause the family to lose 40% of their 36-day long vacation. He was seeking $25,000 in punitive damages and $300.25 for each day they are subject to quarantine.
The court’s decision notes that in a previous case (Carmichael), Governor Ige successfully demonstrated “that his Emergency Proclamations have a real or substantial relation to the public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.” Furthermore Judge Otake writes, “The jump in COVID-19 cases and deaths in Hawai‘i since the issuance of the Carmichael order lends further support to the quarantine. And the alarming resurgence of cases on the mainland, both before and after the Court issued Carmichael only buttresses Defendant Ige’s position here.”