Gov. David Ige is extending his emergency order restricting the size of social gatherings and requiring that masks be worn indoors, among other coronavirus-related restrictions, for another two months.
The governor cited the state’s continued high case counts and strains on the health care system as the rationale for maintaining the restrictions, while setting no metrics for deciding when the state may fully reopen.
“Today the number of cases has been trending lower and the number of patients in our hospitals has continued to fall,” Ige said during a news conference today. “However, COVID continues to cause high rates of infection throughout our state.”
Ige has issued about two dozen emergency orders since the pandemic hit early last year. The current proclamation was to expire on Oct. 4 so the extension will be in effect through Nov. 30.
Ige continues to ask that tourists delay traveling to Hawaii. But with case and hospitalization numbers trending downward, he said “we will be considering getting to a point where we will be inviting visitors back to the islands.”
Earlier this year, the governor had said that once 70% of Hawaii residents were fully vaccinated, he would drop all COVID-related restrictions. But the surge in cases this summer that resulted from the highly-contagious delta variant, upended that plan.