If you’re an unvaccinated American headed to Hawaii, and you want to avoid quarantine, you’ll need to provide the state with a negative Covid test.
Alternatively, you could attempt to fake out authorities – and get arrested for it.
A pair from Los Angeles have apparently opted for the latter. A 33-year-old woman and 34-year-old man were recently arrested after allegedly faking negative Covid test results in hopes of dodging Hawaii’s travel requirements.
According to a police statement last week, they uploaded false results into the state’s system, which flagged the documents and prompted an investigation. The travelers were arrested in Hawaii and sent back to California, with a court date pending.
The pair are the latest to join in the strange tradition of falsifying Covid-related documents, an issue that appears to be particularly acute among travelers to Hawaii. It seems the prospect of a sun-kissed trip warrants skirting the law – but not going to Walgreens to get a free injection that could save your life.
A Chicago-area woman who visited the state in August allegedly uploaded a false vaccine record in a bid to skip quarantine. One big tip-off: she spelled “Moderna” on the card as “Maderna”. The same month, another California duo, this time a father and son, were charged after allegedly attempting to pull off a similar maneuver. A couple from Florida also allegedly sought to escape a Hawaiian quarantine using fake vaccine cards – including cards for their children, who weren’t old enough to be vaccinated in the first place.
An Illinois woman submitted a fake vaccine record to avoid Hawaii’s 10-day traveler quarantine, according to authorities, but there a glaring spelling error that led to her arrest: Moderna was misspelled “Maderna”. Photograph: AP
Falsifying the cards carries a penalty of up to $5,000 or a prison term of up to a year, Hawaii News Now reported.
Stories like these are just the latest pandemic frustration for residents of Hawaii. In March 2020, the governor, David Ige, instituted a mandatory quarantine for visitors; by the end of the month, tourism had plummeted. But the islands have still faced an influx of remote workers and tourists whom residents accused of treating their home as a “playground” at a dangerous time. Even as restrictions have loosened over the summer, Ige urged visitors to stay away as cases and hospitalizations rose.
Meanwhile, headaches over fake documentation continue across the US. False cards have also turned up on Amazon and Etsy; others accused of falsifying cards include a California bar owner, a CVS employee and Vermont state troopers. And last week, a Michigan nurse was arrested after allegedly selling vaccination cards for $150 to $200 each over Facebook Messenger.
If only there were a cheaper way to get them.