To say the last two years have been a roller coaster ride for the state of Hawaii would be the ultimate understatement.
It’s not just that restrictions have been in place since the start of the pandemic back in March 2020; it’s that new restrictions have continuously come and gone in response to surges, with near-constant changes to dining and entertainment policies, occupancy levels, and tourism testing requirements.
And while the outdoor mask mandate was dropped earlier this year (although they are still required in some outdoor circumstances, go figure), one constant staple of pandemic Hawaii has been the indoor mask mandate. Since Day 1, masks have been required in all indoor spaces unless you are eating and drinking.
But now, one of Hawaii’s top lawmakers, Lieutenant Governor Josh Green, said that he believes the indoor mask mandate could be dropped in early 2022. The reason? Hawaii has one of the highest vaccination rates of any state in the U.S., and its infection rate is quite low at just 1.7%.
Those numbers all point to a possible relaxation of the mandate; however, Green says he believes others in government are worried about the upcoming holiday season.
“My suspicion is the governor and some of the mayors probably are a little concerned about what could happen over Thanksgiving and Christmas when people gather,” Green told Hawaii News Now.
Green said Hawaii has “exceeded standards and expectations” in terms of vaccinations. And with the booster shot now available as well as a vaccine for kids, the case for dropping mask mandates could be even stronger in the coming months.
A few weeks ago, Governor David Ige said he would consider removing the indoor mask mandate when the infection rate drops below 100 and “remains there.” As of this writing, it stands at 94.
“I suspect there will be significant pressure on the governor to get rid of most of the restrictions right after the New Year,” he said.
As we’ve come to understand during the COVID-19 pandemic, predictions are pretty much useless. But, there is reason to believe that that masks could become optional in the early part of 2022. You can follow along with our Hawaii Travel Updates.