(BIVN) – A new rule signed by Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim on clarifies when face coverings must be worn while in public, and under which circumstances someone may be exempt, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Wearing a face covering in public is so important,” said Mayor Harry Kim, citing evidence that communities in which there is widespread use of face coverings have lower rates of COVID-19 infection. “These coverings protect each other from possible infection from COVID-19,” he said. “The more people understand that wearing a face covering is crucial, the sooner the virus will have fewer people to infect, and the sooner life can start to return to normal. Everyone must wear a face covering in public as a matter of course to keep us all safe.”
Under the COVID-19 Emergency Rule No. 10, signed by the mayor on Monday, face coverings are NOT required in the following circumstances:
- Persons five (5) years of age or younger;
- Persons with health or medical conditions that prevents them from wearing a face covering;
- Persons actively communicating with a person who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
- Persons obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service;
- Persons for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the person related to their work, as determined by local, state, or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines;
- Persons actively engaged in work-related activities and able to maintain a physical distance of at least 6 feet from others;
- Persons actively engaged in exercise activity so long as physical distancing requirements are maintained;
- Persons who are engaged in outdoor activities when alone, with members of their household, or when able to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from others.
Also under the new rule “a business or organization may refuse to allow entry or service to a worker, customer, or patron that refuses to wear a face covering.”
The new rule also continues social distancing measures. High risk populations, like the elderly and others at high risk for COVID- 19, “are urged to stay in their residences to the extent possible, except as necessary to seek medical care.”
Also, all “persons shall maintain a minimum of six -feet of physical separation from all other persons to the fullest extent possible.” Gatherings remain limited to 50 persons indoors and 100 person outdoors, with six feet of social distancing maintained between persons.
The rule states that “any person violating this Rule shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction, fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.”