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Governor extends mask rules, travel regulations for another 60 days

Gov. David Ige on Oct. 1, 2021
Office of Gov. David Ige
Gov. David Ige on Oct. 1, 2021

HONOLULU — Gov. David Ige said Friday he would extend emergency orders requiring masks and regulating travel amid ongoing concerns about high numbers of COVID-19 infections.

Ige said his new proclamation would stay in effect for 60 days. The rules mandate masks in indoor public spaces. To avoid 10 days of quarantine upon arriving in the islands, travelers must show proof of vaccination or a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight to Hawaiʻi.

The governor said he was concerned that the seven-day average of new daily cases continues to exceed 300. He noted that while that's down from late August when the figure approached 900, it's still higher than last year's peak.

Ige said the state has not decided on any specific metrics to determine when restrictions might be eased but will base those decisions upon discussions with health care officials. He said he was watching closely whether hospitals have enough beds and staff to care for the sick.

He noted Hawaiʻi's geographic isolation means patients can't drive to neighboring states for health care if local hospitals are full.

Earlier this year Ige had hoped to lift restrictions once 70% of the state's population was vaccinated, but he said “everything changed” with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of the disease. On Friday, 68% of the state's population was fully vaccinated.

Besides the continuation of the indoor mask mandate and Safe Travels program, the extension allows people with expired licenses more time to renew them.

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