HONOLULU (KHON2) — With COVID cases rising in Hawaii many people are debating whether they should start wearing a mask while running errands, going to church and during work.

The mask mandate expired in Hawaii on March 25. Despite mask wearing no longer being mandatory, many residents and tourists still opted to wear them. 

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The CDC updates their metrics on county wide community spread every Thursday. For weeks, Hawaii was in the low category, which shows up as green on the CDC community spread graph. However, with the rise in COVID cases most of the state is in the orange, high, category.

With the rise in COVID cases many people are wondering if wearing a mask will in fact protect them from getting the highly contagious virus.

According to the CDC, despite the jump in recent numbers of people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear a mask indoors.

However, it is still recommended. For example, those who are immunocompromised or at high risk for severe illness should wear a mask while indoors at public settings. 

The CDC even suggests testing before going to a function where people who are susceptible for severe illness will attend. 

Areas in the high category like Kauai are advised to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status while indoors in public settings.

They report it’s never a bad thing to wear a mask and it does provide a layer of protection if you can not physically distance yourself from someone, especially if that someone could become very sick with COVID.

Some people are more likely to become very sick with COVID-19 

  • People who are older 
  • People with certain medical conditions 
  • Pregnant and recently pregnant people 

According to the Hawaii Department of Health masks are strongly recommended for people over the age of 65, with compromised immune systems, who care for people at risk of severe illness and those unvaccinated for COVID. 

They also suggest wearing a mask at the following indoor facilities:

  • Schools
  • Hospitals and health care facilities
  • Long term care facilities
  • Shelters
  • Correctional facilities
  • Congregate living facilities
  • Crowded settings

Get more coronavirus news: COVID vaccines and boosters

For more information on mask wearing guidance head to the CDC’s website or click here to be taken to the Hawaii Department of Health’s website.