HONOLULU (KHON2) — Almost two years to the date since COVID-19 emergency orders began in Hawaii, and all of the state’s county COVID mandates are set to expire this week.
State emergency orders remain for now, but KHON2 has been told that Gov. David Ige is scheduled to address those Tuesday.
For now, the City and County of Honolulu’s restrictions expire Sunday, while Maui and Kauai end tomorrow. Hawaii County’s is pau effective today.
“COVID is by no means gone but we’re getting to a point where we can learn to live with the virus,” Hawaii County Mayor Mitch Roth said.
Cases of the virus in each county are down at least 60% in the last two weeks and 65% statewide.
For Oahu, this announcement means that a vaccine or negative COVID test for restaurants, bars, and gyms will no longer be needed come Monday morning.
With a new variant still possible, Mayor Blangiardi said the city is prepared at any time to take action.
“We want to transition out of this even though we’re letting our emergency order sunset that we understand that COVID is not over, but we’re going to go forward living with this disease,” Mayor Blangiardi said. “We’ll act as responsibly as we can as a city organization putting our health and welfare of our people first.”
State emergency orders that will remain are the indoor mask mandate, state and county employee vaccine mandates, and the Safe Travels Program.
Mayor Blangiardi added that Gov. Ige is not expected to lift the mask mandate Tuesday.
“The state has confirmed that the indoor mask mandate,” Mayor Blangiardi said. “They’re going to continue it and make an announcement in the future after evaluation of CDC guidelines and the state and county metrics,”
These are only government mandates. Private companies will still be able to make requirements.
“If private businesses decide to do that for the safety of their patrons, I don’t think we can restrict them from doing that,” Mayor Blangiardi said.
That also goes for the University of Hawaii, which has announced its COVID vaccine requirement will continue into the fall semester. It could become a staple of their five other vaccination requirements.
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UH is awaiting Governor Ige’s announcement to see if they’ll update their own mask policy both on campus, as well as at events.