Hawaiian Governor David Ige announced Thursday the state would not lift its mandatory mask mandate due to potential enforcement issues with determining who was vaccinated.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced earlier the same day that people fully vaccinated against COVID-19 would no longer need to wear masks or physically distance indoors or outdoors.
The agency clarified that declaration by saying masks would still be required on buses, trains and airplanes.
According to KHON-TV , Governor Ige said that with more than half of Hawaii residents not yet fully vaccinated, he was not ready to drop the statewide mask mandate, calling efforts to figure out who was already inoculated an “enforcement nightmare.”
“With the majority of the community not fully vaccinated and we’re not able to determine whether someone is vaccinated or not, we will continue to maintain the mask mandate here in the state of Hawaii,” Ige told KHON-TV.
“It’s better that we continue to wear masks until we get to the point where 70- or 80% of our community is fully vaccinated, especially we want to get more of our children to be vaccinated,” Ige continued.
While the state government has decided not to lift mask mandates, mayors from around the island chain will meet with Ige on Friday. Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi and Big Island Mayor Mitch Roth both support easing masking restrictions if done in a way that protects tourists and locals.
Earlier this week, it was revealed the future of the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) might be in jeopardy as the state’s legislators passed a bill that would cut dedicated funding . If the bill becomes law, the HTA’s fiscal year 2023 budget starts at zero and the agency would need to justify why it should receive general funds.