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Masks are no longer required at Hawaiʻi airports, on public transportation

Ryan Finnerty/HPR
FILE - Travelers wear face masks at Honolulu airport.

Masks are no longer required at Hawaiʻi airports or on public transportation across the islands. Local officials made the announcements after a federal judge struck down the national mask mandate for transportation systems and hubs Monday.

A judge in Florida ruled that the mask mandate, which had just been extended through May 3, was flawed and exceeded the authority of federal health officials. Questions immediately arose as to how airports, airlines and local public transportation systems would respond.

A number of airlines, including United, American, Hawaiian, Southwest and Alaska, have already dropped the mandate on their flights.

Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation officials confirmed that, as the Transportation Security Administration was no longer enforcing the mandate, masks would not be required at Hawaiʻi’s 15 airports.

DOT spokesperson Jai Cunningham says mask-wearing at airports will be an individual decision.

"It’s kind of that way now, with all the different grocery stores, drug stores, anywhere you go, you know, it seems to be a personal choice and I think it’s going to be something very similar at the airport — where some people continue to wear masks because they feel like if they’re getting onto an airplane and you don’t know the status of the people sitting around you, so I think it’ll continue to be a little bit of both," he told HPR.

Honolulu officials announced that masks are now optional on all city buses and TheHandi-Van.

"We still highly encourage riders to wear masks onboard public transportation, and to be please be mindful and courteous of others around you," the Honolulu Department of Transportation Services said in a tweet.

On Hawaiʻi Island, the Hele-On bus system announced masks are "recommended, but not required."

Maui County told HPR that masks are optional on its public bus system.

Kauaʻi County said masks are optional on The Kauaʻi Bus.

Scott Kim was a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio.
Sophia McCullough is a digital news producer. Contact her at news@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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