Maui residents mixed on whether they’ll keep masks up after mandates drop today
March 26, 2022, 6:30 AM HST
After being the last in the nation with statewide mask mandates, Hawai’i dropped its indoor mask rules today.
However, reactions from Maui residents were mixed as to whether they will continue to wear facial coverings when entering indoor settings, such as retailers, offices and churches.
T Komoda Store and Bakery customer Leo Asuncion of Kahului said she will continue to wear her mask because it’s already “a habit.”
“You don’t have to wear makeup or anything,” Asuncion said, laughing. “You don’t have to wear your partial teeth.”
Komoda bakery clerk for 30 years, Wendy Okamura, said she, too, will continue to wear her mask.
“I don’t trust. Even though I have the three doses, I’m still going to get my fourth when it’s ready. Because I’m going to be 65.”
She added that the bakery will leave it optional for patrons and staff.
Barbara Marsh, Makawao’s Rodeo General Store cashier for nearly 10 years, said she is going to keep her mask up after the rules drop.
“As a cashier in this store, I’m going to keep my mask on, only because there is different people from different places that are going to be coming in,” she said. “I am at the point of entry and the point of exit, so I just want to make sure that I keep myself healthy plus I keep other people healthy.”
Marsh said that she supports the individual’s decision when it comes to mask wearing.
The grocery store won’t enforce masks for patrons or staff, she added.
Down the hill at possibly the most crowded retailer, Costco, customer Kevin Kammien said that “it’s about time” the mask mandates are lifted.
“I’m over it, personally,” the West Maui resident said. “You have to go with the science and with what other states are doing.”
Kammien added that it should be up to personal choice whether masks are used, and he wouldn’t judge people for continuing to wear them.
Timothy Kennedy, Costco Kahului assistant general manager, said the warehouse will not enforce masks for customers or employees.
“No masks for customers or staff,” he said. “We’ll follow the state.”
On Friday night, staff at one restaurant Upcountry had already dropped their masks. At another Upcountry restaurant about 10 minutes away, staff said masks will be enforced until the rule expires.
Masks are still mandated in airports and indoors at public schools, along with jails and airports.
Also, private businesses may still require masks if they choose.
This month marks two years since COVID-19 was first detected in Hawai’i. In April 2020, the state began to mandate mask wearing.
Gov. David Ige announced March 8 that the state will allow the current emergency proclamation, which contains the mask mandate, to expire at 11:59 p.m. March 25.
With it, the Safe Travels program also ends. The program launched Oct. 15, 2020, as a way to reopen tourism, which was largely suppressed since the onset of the pandemic due to quarantine rules. Safe Travels allowed travelers to bypass quarantine with a negative COVID-19 test and later proof of vaccination.