HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige said he is not ready to say when he will drop the state’s mask mandate. Hawaii is the last state in the nation to have a mask mandate in place.
The CDC is expected to release new guidance on face coverings on Friday.
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The governor said he is confident that case counts and hospitalizations will drop in the coming weeks. But he’s not ready to say what those numbers will be that will lead them to drop the mask mandate.
“We are looking at what makes the most sense. We still know that young children don’t have the option of being vaccinated. So how do we protect our young children and the communities?” said Ige.
KHON2 asked with the CDC about to loosen its guidance on the mask mandate, where does Ige stand.
“Yes, we’re getting closer to the end of mask mandates and other activities,” said Ige. “But we want to make sure we can keep our public schools open, people can continue to work. We can keep those in need of protection especially those who are immunocompromised.”
KHON2 also asked the governor about his proposal to give a $100 refund to each taxpayer, which has stalled in the legislature.
Ige said that, “40% or more are living paycheck to paycheck, we know that that will make a significant impact.”
Senate Ways and Means Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz, who deferred the bill, said it’s because the administration did not come up with a plan on how it will comply with the federal government because it’s using federal funds.
House representatives have said they are working on proposals that will be more helpful than a one-time refund. Among them is making the earned income tax credit refundable and permanent.
“If we make the earned income tax credit refundable and permanent, that’s $400 for each working family in the state on average,” said Rep. Sean Quinlan, chairman of the House Economic Development Committee. “So I think that’s where our focus has to be.”
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Quinlan said he’s confident that the proposal will pass this legislative session.