Hawaii will end its mask mandate as soon as cases subside

Hawaii on Tuesday became the 50th and final state to announce it would drop its universal indoor mask mandate as the United States tries...

Hawaii on Tuesday became the 50th and final state to announce it would drop its universal indoor mask mandate as the United States tries to move on from the once ferocious wave of Omicron.

Governor David Ige, in a sharp reversal, said during a briefing Tuesday afternoon that the mandate would no longer be in effect from March 26.

“We’ve reduced Covid-19 to the point where most of us will be safe without a mask indoors,” he said.

As in the rest of the country, Omicron cases spiked in Hawaii from December to mid-January before falling rapidly. As the tide waned, authorities across the continental United States rushed to end mask mandates, leaving Hawaii and Puerto Rico among the last holdouts. Porto Rico said Monday that its mask mandate would be lifted Thursday for most locations.

Mr. Ige, a Democrat, said Hawaii has retained its indoor mask mandate longer than any other state because “we are all willing to sacrifice ourselves to keep ourselves healthy and safe”, the calling it “aloha spirit”.

Masks are still required inside public schools in Hawaii, the last state to have such a mandate, although its Department of Education on Tuesday lifted the outdoor mask mandate on school campuses.

The end of Hawaii’s general term is a sharp pivot from a week ago, when Mr. Ige said the state’s indoor mask mandate would remain in place even if it lifts other restrictions. The governor had said that on March 25 he would end the state’s strict entry requirements for travelers and the mandate that state and county employers provide their vaccination status or show vaccination results. negative test at work.

However, while the indoor mask mandate is lifted, state authorities are still recommending that people wear masks if they are in a crowded environment or around immunocompromised people. Masks are also recommended in healthcare facilities and prisons.

The mask mandate could be reinstated if cases increase or if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention improves the risk level of Hawaii’s coronavirus community, said Dr. Elizabeth Char, director of the Department of Health of the State. “What worries us is, you know, the next push related to another variant,” she added.

Since this week, four counties in Hawaii has stopped enforcing pandemic rules such as those that set limits on gatherings or require proof of vaccination to enter businesses. Mr. Ige said state officials felt comfortable ending the indoor mask mandate because cases have not increased since county policies changed.

While nearly all statewide indoor mask requirements have expired, a few remain in place. Oregon and Washington’s terms will expire on Saturday, state governors said in a joint statement. declaration last month. But some U.S. territories, including Guam and the US Virgin Islandsdid not raise warrants.

These last weeks, the CDC has suggested that most Americans do not need to wear masks and that schools only require masks in high-risk counties.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Hawaii will end its mask mandate as soon as cases subside
Hawaii will end its mask mandate as soon as cases subside
Newsrust - US Top News
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