Former NBA basketball player Lazar Hayward Jr. and his traveling companion, Raven Randle, have been arrested after traveling to Hawaii from Los Angeles last week. The couple have been accused of falsifying COVID-19 test results in order to avoid the state’s mandatory ten-day quarantine period for unvaccinated and untested visitors.
The incident comes just after a major summer spike in COVID-19 cases in Hawaii, as the state struggles to contain the highly contagious Delta variant. “We strongly advise visitors that this is not the right time to travel and that they should postpone their trips until the end of October,” Hawaii Governor David Ige said in a statement in August.
âOur hospitals are reaching their maximum capacity and our intensive care units are filling up,â he said. “Now is not a good time to travel to Hawaii.”
Instead of banning travelers altogether, the state requires visitors to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative result of a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their trip to Hawaii. Otherwise, the visitor is required to self-quarantine for ten days.
According to Hawaii News Now, Hayward, 34, and Randle, 33, traveled to Lihue Airport in Kauai, after allegedly uploading falsified negative COVID-19 test results to the state’s Safe Travels portal.
After the app reported their documents, police intervened and arrested the duo. Hayward and Randle were then released pending an investigation, driven back to Lihue airport and sent on a flight back to California.
“These arrests highlight the continued efforts between attorney general investigators, other state officials and county law enforcement to keep Hawaii safe,” said the deputy head of the bureau of patrol services, Mark Begley, according to a statement from the Kauai Police Department posted on Facebook.
âWe would also like to thank the vast majority of our visitors and residents who respect and follow the safety protocols in place while traveling to Hawaii,â he added.
The state attorney general has reportedly opened an investigation into the incident.
Hayward played three seasons between 2010 and 2013 for the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunders.
Hayward and Randle are far from the only visitors trying to escape Hawaii’s travel demands. In August, a woman in Illinois used a fake vaccination card to avoid the quarantine period. However, she was caught when authorities noticed that her vaccination card had misspelled “Moderna” into “Maderna”.
News week contacted Hawaii’s Attorney General and the Kauai Mayor’s Office for further comment.