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Utah tourist arrested in Hawaii for allegedly not following quarantine order

Lihue Airport of Kauai, Hawaii. Photo: Getty Images

KAUAI, Hawaii — Police in Hawaii say they arrested a Utah tourist accused of failing to take the proper steps needed to follow the state’s strict quarantine order for travelers. 

Officials from the Kauai Police department issued a statement explaining their island is still vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. In part, they said, that’s because of limited health care capacity. 

“Our team of police officers, National Guard soldiers, and community partners remain vigilant in protecting Kauai.  But we cannot do it alone.  We need everyone’s cooperation to protect our island, including those who are thinking of traveling during a pandemic,” said Patrol Services Bureau Assistant Chief Mark Bagley.

Utah tourist accused of breaking Hawaii rules

utah tourist arrested hawaii

(Booking photo of John Shiffler. Credit: Kauai PD)

Hawaii has a strict rule for visitors coming into their state and for people coming back home.  According to KHON2, travelers have to keep themselves properly isolated for two weeks, which includes finding an appropriate place to stay and arranging to have all their meals delivered to their room.  People in quarantine are only allowed to leave if there is a medical emergency.

However, Hawaii police say the Utah tourist, John Shiffler, from Salt Lake City, didn’t make those arrangements.  A police spokesperson says officers arrested Shiffler when he arrived at Lihue Airport from his direct Los Angeles-to-Kauai flight. 

Police took Shiffler to Wilcox Hospital for a screening, then to a detention center. Shiffler is still being held on bail.

Officers arrested another man, Andrew Denny of Wailua, after coming home.  Investigators say Denny spent a month in Florida and other mainland spots before he returned on July 4. Witnesses reported seeing Denny in several places on Kauai when he should have been isolated.

Since the quarantine rule took effect, KPD has arrested 46 people for violating the order.  Police say the arrests could land someone in jail for up to a year along with up to $5,000 in possible fines.