HONOLULU (KHON2) — There are renewed calls for the Hawaii governor to issue a statewide mask mandate. Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell says he has asked the governor to issue it before and will ask again.
The mayors for the other three counties also support a statewide mandate, as well as the state’s lieutenant governor.
Right now, each county has its own mandate on mask use.
The mayors and the lieutenant governor say that having one for the whole state would make it consistent and easier to understand, which would lead to more people complying.
“I’ve asked the governor on a number of occasions to just do it statewide everywhere, so it’s consistent no matter what county you go to. Everyone knows when they have to wear a mask and when they don’t,” said Mayor Caldwell.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green called for a statewide mandate in the past and even said that there should be a $100 fine for anyone who violates it.
“We absolutely must wear masks whenever we’re around anybody outside of our homes. That’s so critical. If we do that, we can keep the rate down low. We’ve seen that we can succeed where others have failed before,” said Lt. Gov. Green.
A study by the Department of Health and the University of Hawaii tracked proper mask usage in the different counties. Honolulu has the highest at 84%, Hawaii and Kauai are at 79% and Maui is at 74%.
Dr. Janet Berreman, who heads the study, says that 80% is the goal, so the state is doing pretty well. She adds that a statewide mandate would be helpful with tourism reopening.
“As we travel more easily and have more visitors, the more consistent and the more clear that messaging can be for everyone in the state, the easier it would be for more people to understand it and then to comply with it,” she explained.
Dr. Berreman points out that the message has to be clear because wearing a mask is so crucial in preventing COVID-19 from spreading. It has to be part of our everyday lives in order for us to get closer to normal living.
“If we want to be able to get back to socializing, seeing the people that we love, being in the same room with them in an appropriate way, part of that needs to be wearing masks,” said Dr. Berreman.
The governor’s office sent a statement that wrote, “The governor is currently working with the attorney general on possible common face mask requirements for all counties.”
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