Updated 430pm. This afternoon the state DOT said masks are no longer required on airport properties statewide. In addition, Airlines including Hawaiian Air and Alaska Air said they would make masks optional for both their employees and passengers.
We have heard that the CDC plans to appeal today’s 59-page ruling from a federal judge in Florida. US District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the CDC had used flawed reasoning in their interpretation of the Public Health Services Act. This is what gave them the basis for the mask mandate we have been under during COVID.
So at least for now, it looks like masks are no longer required. We know that airlines, unions, and others are opposed to continuing the mandate, and there are also other lawsuits pending.
Given that the current mask mandate was set to expire in two weeks, is isn’t clear just what might happen next. So far, no word from the Governor of Hawaii on his take.
What’s next on Hawaii flights.
Hawaiian Air just said “this is a rapidly evolving situation, and we are making the wearing of face masks optional onboard our flights effectively iummediately – for guests and employees.”
Flights and airports are under federal jurisdiction. That having been said, Hawaii airports are to our knowledge managed by the Hawaii Department of Transportation. That’s confusing. Furthermore, at this point, we have seen no comments from Hawaii DOT, from Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial hopeful Josh Green, or Governor Ige.
What remains unclear is whether the Justice Department will be able to intervene, although we’re getting the distinct impression now that it is unlikely.
Flight attendants’ union speaks out.
They are clearly worried about any confusion landing squarely on their aircraft in the form of trouble onboard. The Association of Flight Attendants suggested there be “calm and consistency in the airports and on planes. We urge focus on clear communication so that Flight Attendants and other frontline workers are not subject to more violence created by uncertainty and confusion.”
Meanwhile, the CDC recommends that you continue to wear masks on public transportation.