HONOLULU (KHON2) — The push to have a statewide mask mandate moves forward as county mayors met with the governor on Friday to discuss the issue.
The mayors say that they’ve been lobbying for this mandate for months because it would lead to more people complying.
Because there are differences with the county rules, some say it’s confusing and hard to enforce. So the mayors and others are looking to have the same rules that will apply to everyone, no matter which island they’re on.
The lieutenant governor and other state lawmakers have also been pushing for it.
Sen. Donovan Dela Cruz, who heads the Senate Special Committee on COVID-19, asked Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors about it months ago.
“One of her reasonings was she felt the counties are in the process of implementing a mask ban, so she didn’t feel it was necessary,” said Sen. Dela Cruz.
Connors added that each county is different with different needs.
“But we didn’t see that that was relevant in this case. When really, nationwide, worldwide, wearing masks was obviously something beneficial and really had to be worn at all times when you’re in public,” said Sen. Dela Cruz.
The governor seems to be warming up to the idea. After meeting with the mayors, a spokeswoman says that while current county orders mean basically the same thing, “The mayors agree that the focus now is to conform the language across all jurisdictions. The AG is working on it.”
His incident commander, Major General Kenneth Hara, also sent a statement that said, “Both the Governor and I are in full support of this mask mandate proposal making it consistent throughout the state.”
The governor has also released a video that will be played at Hawaii airports, asking visitors to comply.
“Most important is that we malama each other by practicing the three W’s–wear your mask when you’re out and about, wash your hands at every opportunity and watch your distance from other people,” said Governor David Ige in the video.
Sen. Dela Cruz says consistency is more important now as more visitors arrive every day.
“When our own visitors go from one island to another, it got really confusing as to who should be implementing and enforcing the mask ban,” he said.