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Hawaii to Keep Mask Mandate Despite New CDC Guidance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this week adopted new guidelines on mask-wearing, issuing protocols that will allow almost 70 percent of the country living in areas with medium to low positive COVID-19 cases to ditch the face coverings while indoors.

Count Hawaii among the 30 percent among the maskers – voluntarily.

Gov. David Ige said Friday the state will keep its indoor mask mandate in place “for now,” even though Hawaii has seen a decline in the number of cases. The islands have the second-lowest death rate in the U.S. from COVID-19, thanks largely in part to a proactive, hardline stance on restrictions.

Ige said he’s not quite ready to eliminate the mask mandate.

“Hawaii will keep the indoor mask mandate for now. We are watching disease activity across the state and globally, especially as other changes are made to current programs across the U.S. and at the county level. We will adjust accordingly,” the Gov. said, according to Hawaii News Now. “The CDC eliminated its mask recommendation once before but was forced to reinstate the indoor mask requirement when the Delta variant caused a spike in cases. Hawaii kept its indoor mask requirement in place during that time, protecting residents and preventing the rapid spread of the virus, resulting in the second-lowest COVID fatality rate in the country.”

Earlier this week, the island of Maui said it will lift its vaccination and testing requirements for indoor venues, but the mask mandate remains.

Hawaii State House Minority Leader Rep. Val Okimoto said she has written to the Gov., asking Ige to drop the mandate.

“We don’t need this mask mandate anymore. The people are tired of it,” she told Hawaii News Now. “The administration has been talking about following the science, following the guidelines. So this really, based on the CDC’s website, that is the science behind it.”

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