Gov. David Ige today signed a new emergency proclamation intended to clarify the rules regarding the current state-wide mask mandate to curb the spread of COVID-19.
“All persons in the State shall wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when in public,” according to Ige’s proclamation.
The newest proclamation also extends the moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent until Dec. 31.
The proclamation also allows that “An owner or operator of any business or operation shall refuse admission or service to any individual who fails to wear a face covering, unless an exception applies under this section.”
Businesses that don’t refuse admission face fines “and mandatory closure,” according to Ige’s office.
Ige’s state-wide mask requirement was first required on April 25 but confusion had persisted because of mask exemptions among Hawaii’s four counties.
Ige’s latest proclamation “now requires all hotel operators in the state to adopt a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan for each property,” according to Ige’s office
Each hotel is now responsible for how to deal with every guest “who become COVID-19 positive or have been identified as a close contact of someone who is positive for COVID-19,” according to Ige’s office. “Hotel operators are required to submit their plan to the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority and publish it on their website.”
Ige said he met with all four county mayors on Friday to create identical rules for mask requirements across all islands, he told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Spotlight Hawaii program today.
“It will be required for everyone in the state of Hawaii to wear a mask while they’re in public. Period,” Ige said.
Ige’s announcement follows weeks of confusion among both residents and visitors, with the visitor industry asking for a legislative special session to make the rules clear.
Some have raised concerns about the misdemeanor penalty for violators, which can result in fines up to $5,000 and the possibility of a permanent criminal record.
Ige said today that it would be cumbersome to try to create a uniform mask mandate in a special session — and to reduce the penalties through legislation.
He said that Hawaii now has the lowest rate of COVID-19 infections across the country.
Spotlight Hawaii, which shines a light on issues affecting Hawaii, airs live 10:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s Facebook page. Join Ryan Kalei Tsuji and Yunji de Nies this month for a conversation with guests. Click here to watch previous conversations.