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This state will be the only one with an indoor mask mandate

As COVID-19 cases dwindle, states pull back on face mask mandates

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People sit on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu.

In this Aug. 24, 2021, file photo, people sit on Waikiki Beach in Honolulu. Hawaii’ will soon be the only state in the nation to have an indoor mask mandate.

Caleb Jones, Associated Press

Hawaii will soon be the only state in the country to have an indoor mask mandate, CBS News reports.

The news: Hawaii Gov. David Ige told local news station KITV that he has kept the indoor mask mandate because Hawaii has had the second-lowest death rate for COVID-19 in the United States.

What he said: “I am working with the Department of Health to determine when the time is right for Hawaii to lift the indoor mask mandate. Hawaii ranks second in the nation when it comes to COVID-deaths, in part because of the indoor mask requirement and other measures that have proven successful in protecting our community from this potentially deadly virus.

  • “We base our decisions on science, with the health and safety of our community as the top priority.”

Why it matters: Hawaii’s decision to keep an indoor mask mandate comes as other states have dropped their COVID-19 restrictions.

  • For example, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Oregon and New York all dropped their indoor mask mandates, a sign that liberal and more restrictive states were moving past mandating indoor mask-wearing, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

Yes, but: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends people wear face masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Now is not the moment” to drop your mask mandates, said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director, in an interview with Reuters.

  • “I know people are interested in taking masks off. I too am interested. That would be one marker that we have much of the pandemic behind us,” Walenksy told Reuters. “Right now our CDC guidance has not changed. … We continue to endorse universal masking in schools.”