Hawaii governor continues emphasizing mask-wearing to visitors


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Gov. David Ige says Hawaii and its travel partners will need to continue to emphasize and re-emphasize Hawaii’s mask mandate as the federal government eases mask requirements for those who are fully vaccinated.

Signs to wear a face covering could be seen at airports, hotels and busy streets like Kalakaua Avenue.

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Kapu Breakers group administrator Angela Keen says these efforts may need to improve to remind visitors a face covering is still required for most indoor places and certain areas outdoors.

“The message is lost, it’s always been lost and our visitors do about 50% masking up,” Keen said. “Many of them feel when they pass that test and they are free and clear that they don’t have COVID, and they don’t need to wear their mask.”

At least half of the states eased or dropped mask requirements for vaccinated people. Nevada announced vaccinated people would not need to wear a mask in most indoor and outdoor settings, with casinos able to operate at full capacity in June.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to relax mask requirements mid-June.

Gov. David Ige says Hawaii’s mask mandate remains in place and his administration will step up messaging.

“First and foremost in what we can control ourselves. We have been working with the airports on providing signage,” Ige said. “Working employees of the state as well as the airlines to really emphasis and re-emphasize that in the state of Hawaii we have a mask mandate that is in effect.”

The different messaging coming from the federal government and the states can be confusing for those traveling to places where face-covering rules vary.

Paul Doucas is visiting Oahu from Wisconsin. He says it could be difficult for someone outside the state to know all of the protocols in place.

Doucas said, “Not only confusion, the confusion almost creates a level of discomfort because you don’t know the protocols and how strongly people feel or don’t feel about it.”

Gov. Ige said he will call on airlines and hotels to continue sharing the message to mask up.

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