Gov. Ige Eliminates Mask Mandate for Outdoors, Allows Ocean Sports Competitions
Gov. David Ige announced Tuesday people will no longer have to wear masks outdoors, effective immediately, as COVID-19 cases decrease and more people get vaccinated.
The governor said he would maintain a requirement that people wear masks indoors. The same rules will apply regardless of whether someone is vaccinated.
The governor said wearing a mask is still "highly recommended" while outdoors in large groups.
"The virus is still circulating in our community, and unvaccinated people are particularly at risk," he said. "Until more people are vaccinated, we must continue to take precautions indoors and outdoors in large groups for the safety of our loved ones, neighbors and communities."
The governor also said that starting June 1, ocean sports competitions like surfing contests and canoe paddling races will be allowed.
Ige said 57% of Hawaii's population has received at least one dose of the vaccine while just under half of the population has been fully vaccinated. Hawaii is also one of nine states reporting 70% of adult residents have had at least one shot, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The lowest overall vaccination rates in the U.S. remain in the South, where Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Arkansas have administered the fewest doses per 100,000 adults, according to the CDC. The highest rates are in Vermont, Massachusetts, Hawaii and Connecticut.
“The public health measures that we implemented for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the success of our vaccine program and the cooperation of our residents across the state, have brought us to this point. We made these decisions based on the data and guidance from our public health officials,” Ige said.
Gov. Ige said he expects to make changes to the Safe Travels program in June, allowing quarantine exceptions to transpacific travelers who were vaccinated in Hawai‘i.