(BIVN) – Governor David Ige on Tuesday issued an amendment to his emergency proclamation for COVID-19, ending the outdoor mask mandate, effective immediately. The indoor mask mandate is still in effect.
Mask wearing is still highly recommended outdoors, the Governor said. “The virus is still circulating in our community, and unvaccinated people are particularly at risk,” Gov. Ige said. “Until more people are vaccinated, we must continue to take precautions indoors and outdoors in large groups for the safety of our loved ones, neighbors and communities.”
The State of Hawaiʻi will also lift the suspension of ocean sports competitions beginning June 1. This includes surfing, canoeing and swimming. According to the Office of the Governor:
The state will resume issuing permits for ocean activities, and the counties will issue permits for the use of parks. Permits will be issued with the understanding that health and safety protocols are followed to protect communities, contestants, and spectators.
“The public health measures that we implemented for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the success of our vaccine program and the cooperation of our residents across the state, have brought us to this point. We made these decisions based on the data and guidance from our public health officials,” said Gov. Ige.
“Surfing and outrigger canoe paddling are so much more than sports,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz, who earlier this month called on Governor Ige to lift the restrictions, citing Hawai‘i’s progress on vaccinations and its low case counts, as well as the importance of safely lifting restrictions and returning to a more normal life. “I look forward to seeing our kids out in the water competing in surf contests and regattas again,” Senator Schatz said.
“We’re excited to make significant strides toward normalcy by allowing ocean sports to resume,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth. “They are a staple of our island communities and play a paramount role in the health, safety, and sanity of our residents. We now know that the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in open air spaces, where adequate social distancing can be practiced, is little to none, and we thank the Governor for supporting this decision.”
Mayor Roth also said he is asking the governor to allow the County to increase the number of people who will be allowed to gather outdoors for events.
Governor Ige also expects to make changes to the Safe Travels program in June. “The next step would be to provide quarantine exceptions to transpacific travelers who were vaccinated in Hawai‘i,” the Office of the Governor wrote. “In addition, the state continues to work with third-party verification services and hopes to offer the same quarantine exceptions to travelers vaccinated in other states later this summer.”