HONOLULU (KHON2) — Tuesday, April 19 was the first full day that masks were no longer required in airports, on airplanes and while riding City buses.
The reaction was mixed.
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Masks became optional on TheBus on Tuesday; Riders will not get in trouble for still wearing a face covering. Most bus riders who spoke to KHON2 did not even know they had the option to take the masks off, but many said they will be keeping theirs on.
“Even though people are tired of doing it, but you know, it’s for our health and safety though,” bus rider Flora Fujiwara said. “Everybody! Think of others. If, you know, think of the other people. If you think of your family, you wouldn’t want them to get sick.”
Other riders pointed out that family and friends are not the only people to think about. Bus drivers were the ones who had to be “mask police” for over two years. One rider said he saw many incidents where drivers had to step in.
“Really the bus driver would correct them, tell them, ‘Oh, you got to put on a mask,’ and things like that.” Thomas Edward Dods, Jr. said. “There’s less stress on them, huh? So it should be OK.”
It is not just TheBus, Tuesday was the second day of masks being optional at all U.S. airports and on planes. Travelers who flew into Honolulu had mixed emotions; Some said they do not need a mandate to be respectful of others.
“Well, I figured they say it’s optional,” Chula Vista visitor Charles Witte said through his mask. “So, but we’ve been masking pretty much consistently, especially in crowded situations so we, we think it’s the prudent thing to do.”
A pair of best friends from San Diego also spoke to KHON2 — one had a mask on while the other did not.
“So, I don’t know for me, I just feel accustomed to it when I’m around a big crowd,” Keilani Sauni said through her mask, “when I’m more intimate with friends or family that I know, then I tend to take it off.”
Priscilla Pascual, Sauni’s best friend, was not wearing a mask and said the individual freedom to choose what is best for them is more necessary than hearing what is best and subsequently being punished for not complying.
Sauni even worked at LAX when the pandemic first hit and agrees that face coverings should be optional. She said airport workers have dealt with rowdy passengers for far too long.
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“Just like everybody in the airport, we’d always talk about it so I’d say the same thing that it’s just, it’s nice to have the option,” Sauni said.