Masks off, smiles out for Hawaii youth sports

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — With masks being ripped off across the state following Governor Ige’s announcement of the repeal of the mask mandate while people are outdoors, athletes are getting a reprieve from breathing hard with a sports covering.

Outdoor sports aren’t required to wear masks anymore, and leagues will be able to implement their own rules.

“The biggest difference I think this will make is it will allow for youth sports and outdoor teams to play and engage in activities when they’re outdoors without having to wear a mask,” Hawaii Department of Health Director Dr. Libby Char said.

Youth leagues KHON2 spoke with Tuesday say they will follow the state and city’s guidelines.

“The kids are going to be excited to play without a mask finally they get to run around and see each other’s faces,” youth baseball coach Matt Inouye said. “These kids have been troopers through the whole thing so you got to give it up to them and for every sport, these kids have been suffering through this for the past year and a half so we finally get to get back out there breathe some fresh air and yell at the top of our lungs without being muffled,”

Parents say that for some kids it won’t be much different, because they struggled to wear masks in the first place.

“My daughter who is 6 has spent the last year with half of her face out anyway so it’s probably not a whole lot different,” Seilee Yahiku said.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi also announced that organized team sports can have multi-team tournaments again starting June 1st.

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