HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Eight days into Hawaii’s tourism relaunch, a community watchdog group says many visitors aren’t following the state’s mask regulations.
Angela Keen, the co-founder of Hawaii Quarantine Kapu Breakers, said she is appalled at how many visitors think testing negative for COVID-19 means they don’t have to wear a mask.
“Tourists said they were cleared, they tested negative. So they didn’t need to wear a mask,” Keen said.
Keen added that the state and visitor industry need to step up education of the mask requirements.
But industry leaders said visitors are being told about the rules.
“As we welcome visitors here and we tell them to wear their masks, social distance, our local population also has to lead by example, too,” said Mufi Hannemann, president of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. He added that there have “been some wrinkles that need to be ironed out.”
Mask wearing among visitors was a major topic at a meeting on Thursday involving government and tourism leadership. Some have called on the state to be clear about the rules.
Keen and her group say the state needs to issue a tougher, statewide mask mandate.
Gov. David Ige said the state already has one.
“We’ve had a statewide mask mandate since the 12th proclamation,” Ige said, in a one-on-one interview with Hawaii News Now on Oct. 16.
The 12th emergency proclamation was signed in August and reads, “all persons must wear face coverings in compliance with the county orders.”
In other words, follow the law in the county you’re in.
Keen said a universal mandate makes more sense.
“Make it for the entire state of Hawaii,” said Keen. “Let people know that when you leave your house, you have to put a mask on unless you’re in the water or traversing to the water.”