Late Monday, Governor David Ige issued an emergency proclamation to extend and clarify the statewide mask mandate among other things, effective immediately on all islands. The new ruling replaces a previous mask mandate from April that lacked specificity and allowed for each island county to set their rules. The governor said, “We all agreed it’s important to have a single message and consistent exceptions.”
As a result of the new ruling, all persons age 5 and above shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in public. In summary, masks are required at all times, except while outdoors when a physical distance of six feet from other individuals (who are not members of the same household) can be maintained at all times.
In most cases, it’s possible to maintain that outdoors. But what about on narrow hiking trails? On our hikes, we come across people of various physical conditioning. Some are moving faster than others. How do you pass when 6 feet is not possible or you have hikers coming towards you in the opposite direction? Most of the trails are not wide enough to allow 6 feet distance, as just one example of uncertainty.
What are the possible fines for violations?
There was nothing new here, in terms of fines or other penalties that could be imposed for violation of the latest mask mandate. Previous rules, still in effect, call for a misdemeanor crime, with up to $5,o00 in fines, or one year in jail. In January, the legislature may consider changing it from being a crime that can result in a jury trial and become part of one’s criminal record. Instead, it would be a simple on-the-spot fine. That would be easier to collect and administer over a costly trial. Honolulu’s mayor has suggested the fine be pegged at $100.
What does it mean and why now?
This proclamation was done in part to prevent errant county mayors from issuing their own mandates as was previously possible.
Businesses must refuse admission or service to anyone who fails to wear a face covering. Those caught not enforcing this rule may be subject to fines and mandatory closure.
Visitors can now expect rules to be enforced uniformly throughout Hawaii. That change for the better has been widely requested by visitors, government, and travel industry stakeholders. Hawaii no longer has a king on each island. We were united under King Kamehameha I in 1810 and should remain so in our approach to the pandemic.
Here are the exceptions to the mask mandate:
You can see the actual policy here which was not well-written for the general public to wade through, or read them below.
A. Individuals with medical conditions or disabilities where the wearing of a face-covering may pose a health or safety risk to the individual;
B. Children under the age of 5;
C. While working at a desk or work station and not actively engaged with other employees, customers, or visitors, provided that the individual’s desk or workstation is not located in a common or shared area and physical distancing of at least six (6) feet is maintained;
D. While eating, drinking, smoking, as permitted by applicable law;
E. Inside private automobiles, provided the only occupants are members of the same
F. While receiving services allowed under a State or county order, rule, or proclamation that require access to that individual’s nose or mouth;
G. Where federal or state safety or health regulations, or a financial institution’s policy (based on security concerns), prohibit the wearing of facial coverings;
H. Individuals who are communicating with the hearing impaired while actively communicating (e.g., signing or lip reading);
I. First responders (police, fire fighters, lifeguards, etc.) to the extent that wearing face coverings may impair or impede the safety of the first responder in the performance of his/her duty;
J. While outdoors when physical distance of six (6) feet from other individuals (who are not members of the same household/living unit/residence) can be maintained at all times; and
K. As specifically allowed by a provision of a State or county COVID-19 related order, rule, or proclamation.