Hawaii’s governor extends mask rules, travel regulations

October 2, 2021 GMT

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii 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 Hawaii.

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.

He said he was watching closely whether hospitals have enough beds and staff to care for the sick. He noted Hawaii’s geographic isolation means patients can’t drive to neighboring states for healthcare 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.