HONOLULU (KHON2) — Most Americans can ditch their mask. That is the latest announcement by the CDC on Friday. The agency made sweeping changes to its mask-wearing metrics.

Under the updated guidance, more than 70% of the U.S. population lives in an area with low or medium COVID community levels. And for folks in those areas, there’s no recommendation for indoor masking rules, unless you are at an increased risk for COVID-19.

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Low-risk areas are those with fewer than 200 new coronavirus cases per 100,000 people in the past week, and less than 10% of staffed hospital beds occupied by coronavirus patients.

According to the CDC, Hawaii is considered low to medium risk. But Gov. David Ige said he won’t drop the mask mandate for at least another month. That’s when the Emergency Proclamation expires.

KHON2 talked to some folks who said we are now in a situation where it should be safe enough to make a personal choice. If they feel like taking their mask off they should be able to.

“I think COVID is going to be with us forever. I think we need to move on, I think the people who need to wear a mask should wear a mask or work from home or stay at home,” said Isaiah Brock, a Waikiki resident.

“Personal preference I guess, always have a mask just in case, in respect to other people also,” said Iopu Taelaifi, a visitor from California.

KHON2 asked Taelaifi if a mandate was needed for people to carry a mask.

“No, you don’t. I think it’s common sense,” said Taelaifi.

The governor said he plans to keep the mandate at least until March 25 when the Emergency Proclamation expires.

“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.”

David Ige, Governor of Hawaii

Hawaii is the only state which still has a mask mandate.

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), which advises the governor, points out that before the delta variant spread, Hawaii kept the mask mandate while other states dropped it.

“Those other jurisdictions had to re-implement their mask mandate. They had to get people to comply again and ask them to put their masks back on,” said Brooks Baehr, DOH spokesman. “Fortunately, Hawaii has been consistent throughout that helped protect people and help keep them healthy and helped save lives,”

Baehr adds that having the mask mandate is one of the main reasons why Hawaii has the second lowest fatality rate in the country.

State Rep. Val Okimoto has called on the governor to end the mandate and he stated that restrictions have taken a toll on everyone over the past two years.

“I think the opportunity now is to give this right the choice back to the people and have them choose,” said Okimoto. “We need to trust that they’re going to make the right choices for themselves and their families and their loved ones versus government coming in and saying what’s required of them to do.”

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Okimoto added that it is time to find the right balance and have the government take a step back.