Hawaii couldn’t legally ban people from flying there. States don’t have that legal authority. The constitution won’t allow them to do it to American travelers from other states, and individual states aren’t permitted to conduct foreign policy.
Clearly though that’s what they wanted to do. They’ve tried to push the legal envelope where they can. However they did what was indisputably in their power: a public health quarantine. Everyone arriving in Hawaii has had to self-isolate for 14 days. (Plus they were even willing to pay to get tourists to leave the state.)
One tourist just couldn’t handle it. Ten days into a fourteen day quarantine he hit the ocean, and that’s where he died. The 39 year old man, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, was found by a fisherman at Diamond Head near Honolulu.
He arrived June 7 and should have stayed in quarantine until Sunday. However, he checked out of his hotel Wednesday, said Jessical Lani Rich, president of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii, which helps tourists in distress.
Rich told local TV station KITV that he was 10 days into his quarantine. “You know, it’s difficult being in quarantine for a lot of people. I guess he wanted to go enjoy the ocean, and he did, but very sadly it cost him his life,” she said. Her organization reached out to his family in Oklahoma.
Hawaii’s quarantine is currently set to run through July 31, though it may be extended – most likely with options for avoiding it such as a COVID-19 test prior to arrival, or a test on landing (though testing at the required scale may be a challenge, as could getting results back in a timely manner). This incident won’t be included in Hawaii’s COVID-19 death totals.