Hawaii mayor: Florida man flouting quarantine was ‘Covidiot’

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HONOLULU (AP) — A mayor in Hawaii is calling a Florida man accused of trying to flout Hawaii’s traveler quarantine a “covidiot.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami isn’t taking credit for coining the word borne from the COVID-19 pandemic, but said he “may be the first elected official to bust it out in public.”

Bobby Edwards, of Boynton Beach, was arrested last week after police said he landed on the island without proof of having accommodations set up. A statewide order requires people arriving in the islands to quarantine for 14 days.

Edwards “was exhibiting belligerent behavior toward airport personnel and toward officers during his arrest,” police said.

HONOLULU (AP) — A mayor in Hawaii is calling a Florida man accused of trying to flout Hawaii’s traveler quarantine a “covidiot.”

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami isn’t taking credit for coining the word borne from the COVID-19 pandemic, but said he “may be the first elected official to bust it out in public.”

Bobby Edwards, of Boynton Beach, was arrested last week after police said he landed on the island without proof of having accommodations set up. A statewide order requires people arriving in the islands to quarantine for 14 days.

Edwards “was exhibiting belligerent behavior toward airport personnel and toward officers during his arrest,” police said.

“But, you know, when you factor in the risk that they pose to our community, not having a place to quarantine, not having any accommodation, quite frankly, possibly being another homeless individual that we would be asked to take care of,” he said. “You know, it hurts.”

Kawakami plans to send them invoices for the travel costs.

“I have heard that some visitors have been coming here and taking advantage of the COVID-19 situation with cheap flights,” said Jessica Lani Rich, president of the Visitor Aloha Society of Hawaii.

On Monday, with funding from the Hawaii Tourism Authority, she sent three homeless men back to Los Angeles after they arrived in Honolulu with nowhere to stay.

Officials warned that those wanting to come to Hawaii with no accommodations may not make it out of the airport.

Even before the state’s traveler quarantine and statewide stay-at-home order was imposed that allows for essential activities such as grocery shopping and outdoor exercise, Kawakami said he needed “to make Kauai as unappealing as possible very quickly” and even at the expense of a tourism-dependent economy.

“We didn’t have to grapple with it. There wasn’t even a second thought,” he said. “Health and safety … are paramount. There is nothing more important than protecting our people and we’re willing to fight for it.”

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