Hawaii extends mask mandate, travel protocols

Hawaii Gov. David Ige announced in an Oct. 1 press conference that the emergency proclamations for a statewide mask mandate and the Safe Travel Program for screening arrivals to the Aloha State will remain in place at least through the end of November.

Ige said the measures were still needed as the state continues to battle a surge in Covid-19 cases linked to the delta variant that has strained the state’s medical resources. 

Related: On Oahu, visitors show vax records and businesses adapt to Covid rules

“We continue to monitor the health care situation in our Islands, but we feel it is important that we continue and extend the emergency proclamation today,” Ige said.

Under the Safe Travels program, all passengers arriving in the Islands are required to show proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test in order to receive an exemption from a 10-day quarantine. The mask mandate states face coverings are required while indoors in public settings.

During the press conference, state Department of Health director Dr. Libby Char said both daily Covid-19 case counts and hospitalizations are trending downward but that it was important to remain vigilant.

“We are heading in the right direction, but it is still too soon to let our guard down,” she said. “We have a few weeks to go before we expect to be back at levels we can manage ourselves with our current resources and people.”

State officials are closely watching case counts and healthcare capacity, specifically available ICU beds, as they consider the appropriate time to lift restrictions, Ige said during the press conference. 

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