OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR NEWS RELEASE: GOVERNOR IGE LIFTS MASK REQUIREMENT FOR OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, GIVES GREEN LIGHT TO OCEAN SPORTS COMPETITIONS – Honolulu and Kaua’i County orders also approvedPosted on May 25, 2021 in COVID-19, COVID-19 News Releases, Latest Department News, Newsroom, Office of the Governor Press Releases
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HONOLULU – Gov. David Ige has issued an amendment to the 19th emergency proclamation lifting the mask mandate for all individuals outdoors, effective immediately.
Mask wearing is still highly recommended outdoors, when in large groups. The indoor mask mandate remains unchanged.
“The virus is still circulating in our community, and unvaccinated people are particularly at risk,” said Gov. Ige. “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.”
Gov. Ige also announced that the state will lift the suspension of ocean sports competitions beginning June 1. This includes surfing, canoeing and swimming events among others.
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.
“Mahalo to Governor Ige and his team for working so closely with the mayors on relaxing the emergency rules as we begin to recover from the pandemic,” said Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino. “Credit for this progress goes to the people of Hawai‘i who have cared for one another by following the health guidelines and rolling up their sleeves to be vaccinated. As a lifelong fan of youth sports, I am especially excited to see that kids will be back on their surfboards or in outrigger canoes again.”
“We’re excited to make significant strides toward normalcy by allowing ocean sports to resume. 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,” said Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth.
In addition, Gov. Ige approved the City and County of Honolulu’s request to lift canopy restrictions and allow tournaments in city parks, effective June 1. (Emergency Order NO. 2021-07).
“We are grateful multi-team sports tournaments like baseball and soccer, canoe regattas, and ocean sports competitions are once again allowed and just in time for summer,” said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “As the community continues to get vaccinated, we believe the outdoor sports and activities are safe and we will continue to work with the Governor and State on easing additional restrictions. In the meantime, I urge those who have not been vaccinated to please go and get your dose, not just for you, but for our community.”
Gov. Ige also approved the County of Kaua‘i’s updated Business & Recreation Guidelines tier chart. The new chart adds a Tier 5 and a Tier 6, which will further loosen restrictions on Kaua‘i when Hawai‘i reaches COVID-19 vaccination milestones. (Emergency Rule #19 Amendment #3).
“We are grateful to the governor for allowing us the opportunity to incorporate our vaccine rate into our COVID response plan as we know that vaccines are the best way for our community to protect itself from this virus,” said Mayor Derek Kawakami. “We are hopeful that this is a model that could be used statewide to potentially loosen other restrictions moving forward. The vaccines are safe and effective. I’ve had mine and so has my family, and I hope more residents will join us.”
Gov. Ige 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. 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.