Hawaii Governor David Ige has announced that the mandatory indoor mask wearing in Hawaii will be lifted at 11:59 pm on March 25th. Hawaii is currently the only state in the U.S. that still requires indoor masks. The state implemented its first mask mandate in April 2020 and has continued this policy for about two years.
This mandate is the last major COVID restriction, and its end will be a major milestone as the state moves into a new phase of the pandemic that aims to "coexist with the virus." “We are committed to moving our state forward and learning to live with COVID,” Ige said at a news conference.
However, he emphasized that the removal of the mandatory wearing of indoor masks does not mean that masks will disappear completely. Public schools, prisons, city buses, and airports will continue to require masks. Private companies also have the right to mandate masks. "We are prepared to revive the mask policy if there is a surge in cases," he said.
Separately, the state education department announced that public school campuses will no longer require students, faculty and staff to wear masks outdoors. The new rule, which went into effect Wednesday, means children in public schools no longer have to wear masks during recess or when walking outdoors between classes.