Confusion And Frustration Emerge As Hawaii Stands Alone On Covid Rules

Controversy, Frustration, Confusion Reign | Hawaii To Stand Alone On Covid

Here’s how the weekend is shaping up. Jeff was feeling some mask fatigue at the Saturday Farmer’s Market after hearing that the CDC was removing most of its indoor mask mandate and that Hawaii is soon going to be the only state that still has one. All other states have at least announced the end of such mandates. Jeff still masked up outdoors even though perhaps 1/3 of the people there did not wear one. Not only does the indoor mask mandate stand, but Hawaii also still has a 5-day mandatory quarantine, which can be avoided only through specific testing or vaccination rules.

The whole idea of an outdoor mask requirement (yes there was a sign requiring them in theory) at a sunshine farmer’s market where people are walking around and only coming into brief contact with a vendor seems unclear. Everything we’ve seen says you likely don’t catch Covid outdoors in the sunshine.

Mayo Clinic says “When you’re outside, fresh air is constantly moving, dispersing these droplets. So you’re less likely to breathe in enough of the respiratory droplets containing the virus that causes COVID-19 to become infected (even) if you haven’t had a COVID-19 vaccine.”

Then there was the anti-vax car parade on Kauai yesterday. Sorry, we didn’t take photos, but there was a rather large parade of “my body my choice” advocates driving throughout Lihue, with American flags, large banners, and placards. For what it’s worth, we are both vaccinated and boosted.

This all comes following the latest CDC guidelines on mask-wearing, indoors, mind you, not outdoors, as they said that about 70% of areas with low to moderate cases can stop indoor mask-wearing, at least for now.

Governor Ige is rarely without controversy.

Ige has been controversial since he first hit the nuclear panic button by mistake more than two years ago. Some things don’t change, and this is a case in point. Ige said Friday that Hawaii will maintain its indoor mask mandate even with a rapidly declining number of Covid cases in Hawaii. As you know, the islands have among the lowest death rate in the country, and Ige says it is because of just such ongoing restrictions.

The governor said Friday, “Hawaii will keep the indoor mask mandate for now. We are watching disease activity across the state and globally, especially as other changes are made to current programs across the U.S. and at the county level. We will adjust accordingly. The CDC eliminated its mask recommendation once before but was forced to reinstate the indoor mask requirement when the Delta variant caused a spike in cases.” Ige confirmed that the mask mandate is to remain at least until his current emergency orders expire on March 25.

The difference between Hawaii and other states which are ending indoor mask mandates in March is that Hawaii appears to remain indecisive. And the difference between Hawaii and the CDC is that CDC appears to recognise that there is no need for now, and said it will readjust should things change. Ige’s stance, however, seems to be that, let’s just leave the masks on in case something should arise.

Hawaii House Representative Val Okimoto has asked Ige to eliminate the mask mandate, saying “We don’t need this mask mandate anymore. The people are tired of it.”

Major Covid restrictions remain in effect in Hawaii.

Those include not only the indoor mask mandate but the entirety of the Hawaii Safe Travels quarantine exemption program. That still requires arrivals to comply with specific proof of testing or vaccination requirements to avoid the otherwise 5-day mandatory quarantine.

Hawaii visitors want to vacation. Are masks here a problem for you?

With Covid on the rapid decline across the US as well as here in Hawaii, many of you are thinking about getting going on that long-postponed trip. We mentioned recently that your editors too are resuming travel around Hawaii and beyond, in just a few weeks.

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122 thoughts on “Controversy, Frustration, Confusion Reign | Hawaii To Stand Alone On Covid”

  1. My wife and I greatly appreciate the mandates and policies in place, which support the general public health, safety, and welfare. We would not visit the islands without them. Let those who choose to wear the masks live in peace, safety, and security. We simply don’t want the virus in our bodies -ever- if we can avoid it. Believe it or not, masks do provide some protection. If you love or care for your family, friends, country, and economy, get vaccinated and boosted. Respect others. Aloha.

    1. Only properly fitted N95 masks fitted by a trained medical specialist may work a little…I know because my brother-in-law runs a major hospital & his sister runs an even bigger one! You can mask and boost yourself forever but eventually a virus is going to virus…. Hawaii needs to develop some common sense and let people choose!

      1. Though true in a hospital setting due close and frequent contact with patients this is not the same for general public. Your picking and choosing information that is misleading. How do I know this I provide Joint Commission and CMS readiness consulting for Queens Health Systems and other hospitals around the country. Masks do work and you can continue to spread misinformation just know its disingenuous.

      2. Nita C that’s akin to Blasphemy! Choice is a grade of beef, not something that can be left to interpretation or even worse, Chance. Governor Ige’s term is nearing an end, unless he runs his Family the same way this is His last chance to order everyone around without ramifications.

  2. I chose Hawaii for my trip this week because Hawaii seems to be taking the pandemic seriously, not despite that.

    I’ll continue wear my mask because I want you to wear yours.

  3. I think sitting back and watching for a few weeks to see what happens when the masks are dropped across the country is a good idea. If covid starts to spike due to crowded Costcos etc. on the mainland we will have avoided another round of spiking cases and tiring out our doctors here in Hawaii. What’s a few more weeks going to matter with this ongoing experiment and learning curve of covid. Much to be gained, nothing really to be lost. Keep the indoor mandates in place please.

  4. We head back to mainland tomorrow. A long last day of maskery (two flights; three airports), then we “lose” them – hopefully for good, since we don’t head back to the island until late April. It’s not just Hawaii, but they are still required for planes and airports. Maybe keep a few in the glove box just in case.

    OT – but this past month has been the best February weather on North Shore Kauai that I can remember. Every day has been gorgeous. But, starting to need some rain.

    1. Hi David.

      Safe travels and return again soon. It is very dry and things are looking quite brown after about two months without virtually any rain. This week that looks to be changing, however.


  5. We just returned from our Kauai visit. My husband and I were both fine with the mandates that are still in place. Totally understandable for an island thousands of miles away from larger hospitals and equipment/supplies. Locals may be tired of it, but visitors are just that, visitors. When in someone else’s home you respect their wishes. I say to those complaining about all the rules, don’t go, your loss for something so simple as wearing a mask indoors! Kauai is an amazingly gorgeous place.

  6. “Follow the science,” and “When we hit 70% vaccination rate we will drop restrictions,” were what Governor Ige promised us.

    We followed the science and did our job getting vaccinated (and boosted). Be a man of your word Mr. Governor. If not, don’t expect your constituents to respect or listen to you any further.

    1. Justin S do you really believe that Ige cares? He’s leaving soon enough and won’t be back as Governor again, be happy for that. I’m just hoping that Ige doesn’t have Presidential aspirations, I can see Hawaiians Voting for Him while saying “who cares, he won’t be our Governor again.” Seriously, believe it.

  7. Wearing a mask would not deter taking a trip to Hawaii. What’s the word? Malama? I frankly think the majority of the country is stupid for relaxing something proven to keep the virus down. And I still remember groups of Japanese and Chinese tourists masking up when visiting Europe back in the 70’s. It is a small courtesy to others that people seem to have taken on as an “Issue.” Seems like they are using it as a contrived excuse to vent their politics and gain personal attention like a child.

    1. “There’s no reason to be walking around in a mask”. Not my words, but the words of Dr. Fauci, a 40-year government epidemiologist coined in March 2020. In my wife and myself experiences, we religiously wore masks and social distance along with the recommended 3 jabs. Guess what. Still got the virus. Unfortunately, the maks are giving people a false sense of security.


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