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Beach bound on Maui? Don’t forget your mask

Officials clarify that masks must be worn while sunbathing

Thinking of getting a tan while sunbathing on Maui this winter? Not without a mask, according to county officials.

Maui County Managing Director Sandy Baz clarified mask rules during a county news conference Monday, saying that masks must be worn while sedentary on the beach or at a pool.

“If you’re laying on a beach, getting a tan, unfortunately you’ll get a nice tan across the middle of your face,” he said. “You won’t need to put sunblock there, just around your eyes.”

Baz said the question comes up often.

“If there is any confusion, remember, if you have to ask, wear a mask,” Baz said.

He and Mayor Michael Victorino said Gov. David Ige may soon release statewide mask mandates that bring consistency to the rules that differ among counties.

“We’re working on that presently,” Victorino said. “We are trying to get a unified mask-wearing policy across the State of Hawaii.”

With the reopening of trans-Pacific travel, Maui County officials are reiterating mandatory mask rules. Anyone over age 5 must wear a face mask or facial covering in public, except when eating, drinking, smoking or engaging in strenuous outdoor activities.

Masks or facial coverings must completely cover the nose and mouth; have two or more layers of washable, breathable fabric; and fit snugly against the sides of the face without gaps. Pleated, multilayer, disposable masks are allowed.

Recently banned materials include neck gaiters and bandanas, according to county officials. Other restricted coverings are masks with exposed external valves and face shields without a permitted mask underneath.

The county defers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention when it comes to mask guidance; however, the CDC does not ban gaiters.

Doubled-up gaiters are being considered for county inclusion, county spokesman Brian Perry said Monday. He said the CDC recommends doubling gaiters when using them.

“Gaiters are generally single-layered and it can be hard to tell if it’s doubled,” Perry said. “But (the) county is reconsidering rules as part of statewide facial coverings rules governor is considering.”

Meanwhile, authorities are stepping up enforcement. People must wear a mask in public or face a fine of up to $5,000 or a year in jail. Businesses face fines or mandatory shut down if rules are violated.

• In other COVID-19 developments, Victorino reported a Maui County COVID-19-related fatality, a male in his 40s with preexisting health conditions who was hospitalized. He acknowledged that the death “happened a while ago” and that it takes time to be tallied in the state Department of Health totals.

The death brings Maui County’s COVID-19 related fatalities to 19, including one resident who died out of state.

County officials said the Lanai cluster is now at 101 cases. Surge testing will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on Lanai. Nearly 400 tests were done last Saturday and the results are pending. More than 3,000 tests have been done since the start of the outbreak.

• Maui Memorial Medical Center’s team comprising Dr. Michael Shea, chief medical officer, Dr. Kelly Catiel, infection control manager, and Dr. Eric Madamba, respiratory therapy manager, among others, were on Lanai on Monday to conduct education on COVID-19 response and protective measures with clinical staff at Lanai Community Hospital. They also toured with CDC physicians. “The CDC physicians commented about how impressed they were with the COVID-19 response on Lanai,” said Baz.

• Lanai residents were reminded that voting and testing are considered “essential activities.” Except for “essential activities,” Lanai residents and visitors are to stay at their home or place of lodging during the island’s stay-at-home order, which remains in effect until Nov. 11. Travel is restricted to essential work and medical purposes only.

• Free COVID-19 testing for Maui and Molokai residents is ongoing, the county said. Molokai community testing will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursday at the Mitchell Pauole Community Center. Residents do not need to have insurance or meet criteria to get tested for free. Testing in Kihei, Lahaina and Kahului is anticipated but dates and times were not provided. All participants must preregister by visiting www.minitmed.com/pre-register-maui-covid-19.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.

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