Local companies updating new mask policies, some masks off limits

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — As coronavirus cases continue to rise, some companies are getting tougher on the type of masks people are allowed to wear.

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One of the latest companies to announce a mask policy change is Hawaiian Airlines.

They will no longer allow masks with vents or exhalation valves, as well as mesh or sheer face coverings. Face shields without a mask won’t be allowed as well. Someone wearing one of these masks or wearing a face shield without a mask may not be able to board their plane.

All passengers 2 years and older also must wear a mask at the airport and during a flight. Accommodations will still be made for those who cannot wear a mask because of medical reasons.

“We decided to disallow [these types of masks] because the CDC determined they don’t effectively contain respiratory droplets.”

Hawaiian Airlines

More information on Hawaiian Airlines’ updated policies can be found here.

They are not the only ones instituting a stricter mask policy.

Maui Medical Group also has a mask policy update, which went into effect Friday, Aug. 14. In addition to masks with valves, neck gaiters and bandanas are no longer permitted at its facilities. Wearing a face shield without a mask is also not permitted.

“With the rise in cases in Hawaii in general and more recently here on Maui we found it necessary to increase our precautions,” said Marc Rosenthal, Maui Medical Group president.

Maui Medical Group said those masks have been popular with their patients, so it’s been a slow start.  

“We’ve had a little bit of a challenge with some of the patients coming to our clinics with not wearing the proper face masks,” said Clifford Alakai, Maui Medical Group administrator. “Where possible, we’re giving them the disposable surgical masks.”

Dr. Jerris Hedges, Dean of the John A Burns School of Medicine, said it’s important that people take the type of mask they’re wearing seriously.

“We want people to not just be wearing something for show but something that will provide some level of protection,” said Hedges.

He said while valve masks may protect the wearer, they don’t protect others if the wearer is sick.

“It’s almost as if you don’t have any mask, because when you exhale, you exhale right through that valve, and it goes out and into the air and into everyone around you,” said Hedges.

For bandanas and gaiters, if they are a single layer of fabric, he said they won’t give the wearer or others around them much protection.

“The best thing is to wear a standard mask, a cloth mask,” said Hedges.

He said the more people wear them in public, the better.

“I think we’ll see more people do it just because we’re realizing there’s definite value in reducing that person to person spread,” said Hedges.

Most companies will alert customers of mask policy changes. However, if a person is unsure about a company’s mask policy, they should call and check with the business beforehand.

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