Hawaii retailers see more customers going maskless

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Some retailers say they are starting to see more people without masks since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its guidance to allow vaccinated people to remove their face covering.

One business says it is becoming uncomfortable having to confront people without a mask.

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It is mainly businesses that are frequented by visitors that are starting to see a slight increase of maskless people.

Chapel Hats assistant manager Aubrey Yamamoto says the Waikiki shop is nearly reaching pre-pandemic levels. She is seeing fewer masks as more people come in.

“The CDC said vaccinated people didn’t have to wear their mask,” Yamamoto said. “That’s when definitely a lot more people who came in and were maskless.”

She says this puts her in an awkward position of having to confront a person. She has seen how other store employees around the country have been on the receiving end of customers arguing against face coverings.

Yamamoto said, “I just don’t want that to happen to me, so I don’t like to confront people about it.” 

Honolulu Police Department officers have issued 29,000 warnings for mask violations since September 2020. These violations are punishable with up to a year in jail and or up to a $5,000 fine.

The ABC Stores management also tells KHON2 that they are seeing a slight increase in people needing to be reminded to mask up.

The Retail Merchants of Hawaii president Tina Yamaki says shops always have the right to deny service, but most people simply need a kind reminder of Hawaii’s mask rule.

Yamaki said, “there were a little more reminders to people and I’m hearing especially those who are visitors from the mainland, ‘you may be doing that in your state but in our state this is what the law is.'”

Gov. David Ige has said he wants more people to be vaccinated before considering adjustments to the state’s emergency orders.

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