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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell issues new rule for wearing face masks in public during coronavirus pandemic

Everyone on Oahu who is conducting a business transaction will be required to wear a non-surgical face mask starting Monday, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said today.

Caldwell said he will sign this afternoon the amendment to the “stay-at-home, work-from-home” order he issued several weeks ago to help fend off community spread of the coronavirus.

The new mask mandate will include riders and drivers of TheBus and TheHandivan.

Exemptions will include those conducting transactions occurring inside banks or other financial institutions. It will also not apply to people with respiratory or other types of medical issues.

It will not apply to workers working in close proximity to each other if they do not interact with the public, Caldwell said, although he highly recommends that co-workers do wear masks and practice social distancing.

“Everyone should wear a mask, everyone,” Caldwell said.

For purposes of the new order, non-medical masks can be any facial covering, the mayor said. “It could be a scarf, wrap-around or bandana.”

He urged the public not to use N-95 or other types of masks that are needed for those who have the coronavirus, or who interact with those who do.

Violating the mask order would be similar to other misdemeanors under the coronavirus outbreak orders, the mayor said. A judge could impose a maximum penalty of a year in jail, a fine of up to $5,000, or both,

Caldwell said the order will take effect Monday to allow people time to obtain masks.

An organization known as Every1ne Hawaii is prepared to provide up to a million masks free to those who need it. Those in need are urged to go to every1nehawaii.com.

He made the announcement during a news conference on the city’s response to COVID-19.

Watch the news conference below:


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