Face mask mandate while in public goes into effect Monday for Honolulu

Coronavirus

Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s mandate for all Honolulu residents to wear non-medical masks or face coverings while out in the public conducting business, will go into effect Monday, April 20, at midnight.

“It’s the law, anyone going into a business and if you’re interfacing [whether a customer or employee] both sides have to wear a mask,” said Mayor Caldwell. “It’s about physical distancing to protect ourselves so we can open up and if we don’t do this and we get more cases then we don’t open up and that impacts everyone.”

Killer Tacos in Haleiwa closed back in March and opened its doors again on Friday.

Owner Chris Bair said he put in a face covering requirement and limited the number of customers inside while ordering take out that same day.

“Yesterday, [Saturday], we turned away a few people who didn’t have a covering on. They went out to their car and made something up with a t-shirt or flannel shirt,” Bair said.

If someone doesn’t have a mask, a scarf, towel, bandanna or shirt to cover your nose and mouth will work as a covering.

Riders on The Bus and Handivan will also be required to wear a face covering this week.

“We’re going to give it a two-day window for bus riders to come into compliance,” said Mayor Caldwell. “We’re not going to deny them the ability to get on the bus, we’re going to be handing out masks at bus stops.”

There are some exceptions to the mandate, a person doesn’t have to wear a face covering inside financial institutions like banks, and those who have respiratory or other medical issues will not be required to wear one. Also, children under the age of five are also exempt from wearing one.

Caldwell said it’s not required to wear a mask if you’re out exercising, but it is recommended.

Mayor Caldwell is also asking the public not to wear or buy any medical grade masks so there are enough for healthcare workers.

On Friday, Governor David Ige issued a statewide mandate that requires all customers waiting in line to enter an essential business, and anyone inside an essential businesses, including employees who come into contact with customers, to wear a face covering.

Essential staff and employees are also to monitor and enforce six-foot distancing between customers and to limit the number of customers in a facility.

Some businesses say they’ve been implementing those rules already.

“We’ve required people to sanitize their hands before shopping, social distancing, wiping down the counters frequently, and trying to keep it to six to eight people at a time in the store,” said Skylar Lutz, an employee at Celestial Natural Foods in Haleiwa. “If we get too overwhelmed, we have a chain that we put on the door so definitely just trying to promote cleanliness as much as possible.”

Violating the mandated order will be similar to other misdemeanors and also include a maximum penalty of one year in jail, a $5,000 citation or both.

Both Gov. Ige and Mayor Caldwell’s face covering mandates are in effect until April 30.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami issued his own face mask mandate last week and Kauai’s mandate is in effect until May 3.

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