Officials say mask mandates must be followed in common spaces at apartments, condominiums


HONOLULU (KHON2) — The Hawaii COVID-19 Joint Information Center is reminding people to follow the rules when it comes to wearing a face covering and social distancing if they live in an apartment building or condominium.

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Recently there have been reports that some people are not following the mask mandate in apartment or condominium common spaces.

A condominium resident reported getting into an elevator with someone that was not wearing a face covering on Nov. 18 according to health officials, and there was another report of construction workers not wearing masks in the complex’s garage.

Ron Komine Jr., General Manager at 1350 Ala Moana, said they have not faced anything on that scale. Most residents follow the rules, and they have only had to remind a few who did not at the start of the pandemic. He said communication of the rules, whether it is with workers or residents, is key.

“Contractors come in to do renovations, all their workers, some of them don’t know the rules, so you know, we just mention it to the front desk. We have all of our residents, the guests, and the contractors, a sign in at the front desk,” said Komine Jr.

He said the front desk usually reminds newcomers of the rules and can help people with whatever questions they have.

Along with that, Komine Jr. said they have signs all over the lobby and markings in the elevators reminding people to wear a face covering and to keep six feet apart. In their elevator, only four people are allowed inside.

Tricia Nekota, President of the Honolulu Board of Realtors, said people need to be aware of the signs. If there are limits to how many people can be in a room or elevator, people need to follow that limit and be courteous of others, especially during the holiday season.

“During this time, we do always have to remember health and safety is a top priority for everyone, right?” said Nekota. “So if we’re there crowding in an elevator and we’re not properly social distancing ourselves. We’re not following that safety protocols.”

Dr. Steven Hankins, who works with the Department of Health, said being indoors is much riskier than being outside.

“Even just passing, especially in closed indoor spaces, small spaces like elevators, the best thing that we can do to protect ourselves and those around us is to wear the mask. Try to maintain that six foot distance whenever possible,” said Hankins.

Nekota said people should also make sure to wear a mask when they step outside of their apartment or enter a lobby or garage.

“People should always be aware of their surroundings. So even though you think that maybe you’re in a spacious environment if somebody else that you didn’t see comes near you, you always want to be prepared.”

Tricia Nekota, Honolulu Board of Realtors President

Komine Jr. said this year will be much different for 1350 Ala Moana residents. They had to cancel their annual Christmas party due to the pandemic, but he encourages residents to continue to stay safe throughout the holiday season.

“At this time, we all want to celebrate the holiday season, but we also know there’s a pandemic going on and we have to respect that. If everyone respects that (and takes precaution) I think we’ll have an enjoyable Christmas holiday,” said Komine Jr.

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