On April 17, 2020, Hawaii Governor David Ige announced he will now be mandating everyone to wear a face mask or covering while in essential businesses or while waiting to get inside.
The requirement was included in an emergency supplemental proclamation issued Friday and takes effect immediately. But it wasn’t clear how — or when — it would be enforced.
The face mask requirement applies to both employees and customers in essential businesses.
The order also:
- Requires businesses to monitor and enforce social distancing rules of at least 6 feet between customers and employees
- Requires limits to the number of customers in a facility to only the number allowed when following social distancing guidelines.
Also, on that Friday, the governor issued new rules that clarify that all beaches are closed, and that lounging or sunbathing on the sand is not allowed. People can still cross beaches to get to the ocean.
No more than two people or a single family are allowed on recreational boats, and group hiking is not allowed.
Starting this Monday, April 20, 2020, On Oahu, the city has ordered residents to wear face masks during most public interactions including in stores and on the city bus.
Officials have stressed that masks for the public should be cloth, not the medical masks used to protect health care workers.
Masks should not be worn by children 2 and under, or anyone who has trouble breathing.
The CDC has urged that fact that people who do not feel sick could unknowingly transmit it to others which is why we wear the masks.
Other public health advocates say masks can protect their wearers, but chiefly protect others. So, a universal mask policy can protect a wide swath of the population.
“It’s the law, anyone going into a business and if you’re interfacing [whether a customer or employee] both sides have to wear a mask,” said Mayor Caldwell. “It’s about physical distancing to protect ourselves so we can open up and if we don’t do this and we get more cases then we don’t open up and that impacts everyone.”
Killer Tacos in Haleiwa closed back in March and opened its doors again on Friday.
Owner Chris Bair said he put in a face covering requirement and limited the number of customers inside while ordering take out that same day.
“Yesterday, [Saturday], we turned away a few people who didn’t have a covering on. They went out to their car and made something up with a t-shirt or flannel shirt,” Bair said.
If someone doesn’t have a mask, a scarf, towel, bandanna or shirt to cover your nose and mouth will work as a covering.
Riders on TheBus and Handivan will also be required to wear a face covering this week.
“We’re going to give it a two-day window for bus riders to come into compliance,” said Mayor Caldwell. “We’re not going to deny them the ability to get on the bus, we’re going to be handing out masks at bus stops.”
There are some exceptions to the mandate, a person doesn’t have to wear a face covering inside financial institutions like banks, and those who have respiratory or other medical issues will not be required to wear one. Also, children under the age of five are also exempt from wearing one.
Essential staff and employees are also to monitor and enforce six-foot distancing between customers and to limit the number of customers in a facility.
Some businesses say they’ve been implementing those rules already.
By Sadie Fetui
Ka Lā staff writer