Hawaii’s Governor Extends Mask Rules, Travel Regulations | Hawaii News


HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Friday he would extend emergency orders requiring masks and regulating travel amid ongoing concerns about high numbers of COVID-19 infections.

Ige said his new proclamation would stay in effect for 60 days. The rules mandate masks in indoor public spaces. To avoid 10 days of quarantine upon arriving in the islands, travelers must show proof of vaccination or a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their flight to Hawaii.

The governor said he was concerned that the seven-day average of new daily cases continues to exceed 300. He noted that while that’s down from late August when the figure approached 900, it’s still higher than last year’s peak.

He said he was watching closely whether hospitals have enough beds and staff to care for the sick. He noted Hawaii’s geographic isolation means patients can’t drive to neighboring states for healthcare if local hospitals are full.

Earlier this year Ige had hoped to lift restrictions once 70% of the state’s population was vaccinated, but he said “everything changed” with the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of the disease. On Friday, 68% of the state’s population was fully vaccinated.

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WVU updates mask wearing and out-of-state travel guidance for fully vaccinated individuals | WVU Today


Flowers come into bloom on the downtown campus Thursday, May 13, 2021.
(WVU Photo/Jennifer Shephard)

West Virginia University is lessening some restrictions around mask wearing and out-of-state travel for people who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and verified their vaccinations with the University. 

Fully-vaccinated people will not be required to wear a mask in outdoor settings on West Virginia University campuses. Individuals are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after one dose of Johnson & Johnson or two doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. 

Masks will continue to be required in all indoor areas in nearly all situations until the University community reaches an adequate level of vaccination to help protect those who may not yet be vaccinated. 

However, fully-vaccinated individuals who are in groups of fewer than 10 indoors on campus may decide as a group to remove masks. Every individual must feel comfortable with that decision, otherwise everyone should continue to wear a mask in that setting. 

Masks are not required in personal spaces for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people, such as personal vehicles and private offices.

As of June 1, WVU will loosen travel restrictions for those individuals who have attested through the University’s COVID-19 Vaccine Verification System that they have received a vaccine. Fully vaccinated individuals do not need to get tested or quarantine for five days following out-of-state domestic travel. 

Those who are not vaccinated must continue to follow existing University guidance to quarantine for five days following out-of-state domestic travel. Upon return, it is recommended that unvaccinated individuals be tested for COVID-19. The University is partnering with the Monongalia County Health Department to offer twice-weekly COVID-19 testing at the Student Rec Center during the summer. 

Vaccinated individuals who are traveling internationally do not need to quarantine upon return, but should get tested 3-5 days after travel and self-monitor for symptoms. Unvaccinated individuals are strongly discouraged from traveling internationally. If an individual is unvaccinated and chooses to travel internationally, they will be required to quarantine for seven calendar days after travel and to get tested with a viral COVID-19 test 3-5 days after travel.

Moving forward, employees who regularly work on campus will be required to use annual leave to cover the quarantine period and should plan accordingly when scheduling out-of-state vacations. During this time, employees may request a remote work assignment from their supervisor; however, a remote work assignment will not be guaranteed based on the college, department or unit’s operational needs.

-WVU- 

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CONTACT: University Relations/Communications
304-293-6997

Call 1-855-WVU-NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.

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FAA fines more passengers for mask refusal






FAA fines more passengers for mask refusal






















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Hotels, States Adjust to Changing U.S. Mask Regulations


One week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said people vaccinated against Covid-19 could gather indoors without face masks, several—but not all—hotel chains have dropped masking requirements for vaccinated guests. 

Still, even as the American Hotel & Lodging Association this week eased masking requirements for vaccinated guests from its Safe Stay hotel guidelines for Covid-19 safety, other chains have kept them in place, and several states also have maintained indoor masking requirements that supersede the chains’ plans and the CDC’s announcement.

AHLA this week cited the CDC’s guidance in relaxing its Safe Stay guidelines to allow guests who have received a full course of the Covid-19 vaccine to be without masks indoors. 

“At this time, we are not asking hotels to require proof of vaccination status, but we do ask that all guests and workers, vaccinated or not, respect and honor these revised guidelines,” said AHLA president and CEO Chip Rogers in a statement. “Unvaccinated guests should wear face-coverings and practice physical distancing at all times in public settings.”

Hotel employees should continue to wear masks indoors, Rogers said, but AHLA guidelines would permit vaccinated employees who work outdoors or outside of close contact with others could work without masks if hoteliers so chose. 

Several U.S. hotel chains this week updated their policies to allow vaccinated guests to go without face coverings in indoor common areas, including Best Western International, Choice Hotels, Hilton Worldwide and IHG Hotels & Resorts. Each said unvaccinated guests would continue to be required to wear masks indoors. 

Other chains had not updated that policy and at press time continued to require masks for all guests indoors, including Accor, Loews Hotels, Marriott International, Radisson Hotels, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts.

Five states—California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts and New Jersey—as well as Puerto Rico as of Friday maintained indoor mask mandates for all, including those who have received the Covid vaccine, according to the New York Times. Those state mandates supersede the CDC guidance as well as the policies of the hotels that in other states allow the vaccinated to go unmasked. (Maine and Massachusetts are set to drop the mask mandate next week, according to the Times, and NJ Advance Media on Friday reported New Jersey would do likewise. California is set to drop its mandate June 15.)

Conversely, 30 states as of May 21 have no state-level mask requirements. Even where there is no regulation that requires unvaccinated hotel guests to wear masks, no major hotel chain has dropped their own policy for unvaccinated guests at minimum to do so. Some counties and other jurisdictions within these states have mask regulations of their own, however. 



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Orange County moving closer to completely removing mask mandate as travel increases


On Wednesday, Orange County’s COVID-19 briefing was held at the airport, and officials did talk about an increase in travel. The biggest news is that Orange County is on the cusp of moving to Phase 3, which lifts all mask mandates outdoors and indoors.Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has said in the past that Phase 3 could begin when 70% of the population over age 16 has received their first dose of the vaccine and/or Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 5% or lower. Orange County’s current positivity rate is currently at 5.2% and health officials think in the next few weeks it will meet the threshold to move to Phase 3, which means masks will no longer be required indoors, as far as the county is concerned.”It appears that we will hit the sustained 5% or below prior to hitting 70%, so it’s a benchmark, it was guidelines that were given to our community, that is somewhat consistent with what we’ve heard from Centers for Disease Control,” Demings said.On the travel side of things, the CEO of Orlando International Airport said last weekend OIA saw some of its largest non-holiday crowds since the pandemic started.On Sunday, more than 66,000 passengers departed from OIA, also, for December through March, OIA was the busiest airport in the country.As for what is ahead this summer, officials say they believe that domestic travel will continue to grow, but business travel is not yet back and international travel is likely to take even longer to come back.

On Wednesday, Orange County’s COVID-19 briefing was held at the airport, and officials did talk about an increase in travel.

The biggest news is that Orange County is on the cusp of moving to Phase 3, which lifts all mask mandates outdoors and indoors.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings has said in the past that Phase 3 could begin when 70% of the population over age 16 has received their first dose of the vaccine and/or Orange County’s 14-day rolling positivity rate is 5% or lower.

Orange County’s current positivity rate is currently at 5.2% and health officials think in the next few weeks it will meet the threshold to move to Phase 3, which means masks will no longer be required indoors, as far as the county is concerned.

“It appears that we will hit the sustained 5% or below prior to hitting 70%, so it’s a benchmark, it was guidelines that were given to our community, that is somewhat consistent with what we’ve heard from Centers for Disease Control,” Demings said.

On the travel side of things, the CEO of Orlando International Airport said last weekend OIA saw some of its largest non-holiday crowds since the pandemic started.

On Sunday, more than 66,000 passengers departed from OIA, also, for December through March, OIA was the busiest airport in the country.

As for what is ahead this summer, officials say they believe that domestic travel will continue to grow, but business travel is not yet back and international travel is likely to take even longer to come back.



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The Latest: Florida’s amusement parks loosen mask wearing | National Business News


ORLANDO, Fla. — Visitors to Walt Disney World and Universal Studios-Orlando were allowed Saturday to remove their masks when outdoors, except when on attractions, in line or riding transportation.

Florida’s major theme parks are adjusting face mask policies after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosened its recommendations on Thursday as more people get vaccinated for the coronavirus. Masks remain mandatory indoors, except in restaurants when seated or actively eating and drinking.

SeaWorld Orlando and its sister park, Tampa’s Busch Gardens, are allowing guests who say they are fully vaccinated to remove their masks throughout the parks. The two parks will not require proof of vaccination but are asking guests to “respectfully comply.”

The CDC guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters.

———

THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— UK races to test, vaccinate as virus variant threatens plans

— Success story Taiwan faces its worst outbreak in pandemic

— Detroit tourism seeks rebound after year lost to pandemic

— Florida’s amusement parks loosen pandemic mask requirements

———

Follow more of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic and https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine

———

HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MILAN — Former Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi was released from Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital on Saturday, where he was treated for complications related to an earlier bout with coronavirus.

The 84-year-old Berlusconi, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 last September, has been in and out of the hospital in recent weeks. He was most recently admitted last Monday. He also spent 24 days in the hospital under medical supervision in April.

The three-time former premier and media mogul left the hospital without passing in front of photographers and television cameras waiting outside. Last year, Berlusconi spent 10 days at the same hospital receiving treatment for COVID-19. He also received a pacemaker several years ago.

———

PHOENIX — Arizona’s Pima County officials dropped the mandatory mask mandate for fully vaccinated people in line with new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tucson’s mayor will ask the City Council to do the same in the coming days. Mask ordinances in Phoenix and other cities remain in place but are likely to be eased as well.

Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 474 new coronavirus cases and 12 new deaths amid growing vaccination rates. That increased the totals to 872, 496 confirmed cases and 17,459 confirmed deaths.

The state Department of Health Services reported 474 new cases, bringing the total since the pandemic began to 872,496. The 12 new deaths brought the total number tallied in Arizona to 17,459.

———

NEW YORK — Yale University is requiring its faculty and staff to get coronavirus vaccinations before the fall term, extending a requirement already imposed for students.

The private university says faculty members, staffers and academic trainees must be fully inoculated by Aug. 1, although there are provisions for exemptions for reasons based on medical conditions or religious or “strongly held” personal beliefs.

More than 350 colleges and universities around the country are requiring vaccinations for students, at least those living on-campus. However, requirements for employees are somewhat rare. That’s according to information compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

———

DETROIT — Tourism leaders in Detroit are banking on a return of conventions and business meetings shut down last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Groups and companies already are booking dates for this year and next. The Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau has designed Detroit-specific packages that feature high-end hotels and restaurants to attract short-term visitors from nearby states.

Not many big conventions are expected this year, but 2022 promises to be a rebound year, said Claude Molinari, president and chief executive of the Detroit convention and visitors’ bureau.

Professional Convention Management Association President Sherrif Karamat says losses in the U.S. due to COVID-19 are estimated at $300 billion.

———

BEIJING — China has canceled attempts to climb Mount Everest from its side of the world’s highest peak because of fears of importing coronavirus cases from neighboring Nepal.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency says the closure was confirmed in a notice from China’s General Administration of Sport. The move reflects the abundance of caution China has taken in dealing with the pandemic.

While China has mostly curbed domestic transmission of the coronavirus, Nepal is experiencing a surge with record numbers of new infections and deaths.

China had issued permits to 38 people to climb Mount Everest this spring, and Nepal to 408 climbers. In Nepal, several climbers have reported testing positive for the coronavirus after they were brought down from the Everest base camp.

The month of May generally has the best weather for climbing Everest. Scores have reached the summit this week and more are expected to make attempts later this month once the weather improves. Two climbers have died on the Nepalese side, one Swiss and one American.

———

LONDON — Britain says it will host an international meeting next month to combat misinformation about coronavirus vaccines and build global confidence in their use.

The U.K. government says officials, scientists and academics will meet virtually at the Global Vaccine Confidence Summit on June 2 to discuss ways to counter vaccine skepticism.

Heidi Larson, director of the Vaccine Confidence Project at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, says “no single government, academic institution or organization can tackle this challenge alone.”

She adds to ensure the high levels of vaccine uptake needed to help end the pandemic, efforts must be made “to build trust across the various relationships – from scientists and health authorities to business partners and communities.”

Britain has one of the world’s fastest vaccination campaigns, with more than two-thirds of adults receiving at least one dose since December.

———

WARSAW, Poland — Across Poland people are taking off masks and making toasts as restaurants, bars and pubs reopen for the first time in seven months.

The reopening, limited now to the outdoor consumption of food and drinks, officially took place at midnight between Friday and Saturday. Many people on Friday couldn’t wait for midnight and were out on the streets of Warsaw and other cities hours earlier in the evening to celebrate.

Bar owners say they were bombarded with reservation requests leading up to the opening.

———

LONDON — Britain is deploying public health officials, supported by the army, to distribute coronavirus tests door-to-door in two northern England towns to help contain a fast-spreading variant that threatens lockdown-easing plans.

Cases of a strain first identified in India have more than doubled in a week. Government scientific advisers say the variant is likely more transmissible than the U.K.’s dominant strain, though it’s unclear by how much.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that the variant “could be a serious disruption to our progress.” He says the next stage of lockdown-easing measures will take place as planned on Monday but warned the variant might delay plans to lift all restrictions on June 21.

Labour Party lawmaker Yvette Cooper said the government had not barred visitors arriving from India until April 23, a decision that let in “many hundreds of new variant cases.”

More than two-thirds of British adults have received a first dose of a coronavirus vaccine and 37% have had both doses. The government is shortening the gap between doses for people over 50 from 12 to eight weeks in a bid to give them more protection.

———

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — As coronavirus infections decline in parts of the world and the summer holiday season tentatively begins, the Dutch government has eased travel restrictions for a group of popular vacation destinations.

Among the countries with a lower risk of infections that can be visited starting Saturday are Portugal, Malta, Ireland, Thailand, Rwanda, the former Dutch colonies of Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten and a large group of Greek islands.

They previously were designated code orange, meaning the government advised only traveling there if it was urgently necessary. The Greek mainland and Crete remain under code orange.

The destinations are now yellow code, meaning Dutch travelers can visit without having to undergo a COVID-19 test and go into self-isolation on their return.

However, the foreign ministry is stressing that travelers still have to adhere to local rules and restrictions in the countries they visit, which can include showing a negative coronavirus test and self-isolating on arrival.

———

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan has raised the COVID-19 alert level for the capital Taipei and the surrounding area of New Taipei city following its worst outbreak since the pandemic began.

The level 3 alert announced Saturday requires people to wear a mask outdoors and limits indoor gatherings to five people and outdoor gatherings to 10 people. The alert remains in effect for two weeks.

Health authorities said that 180 new locally spread cases had been confirmed through Friday, the majority in Taipei and New Taipei. The daily number of new cases had risen steadily from single digits early this week to 29 before the triple-digit jump announced Saturday.

“The epidemic is gaining intensity,” Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said, while noting that more cases are being identified as authorities hone in on hot zones.

Movie theaters, museums, indoor swimming pools and amusement parks were among the places ordered closed under the level 3 alert, as were community colleges and senior citizen activity centers.

———

NEW DELHI — India’s two biggest cities have reported a drop in daily infections but the government is warning that the devastating surge is spreading in rural areas, where nearly two-thirds of India’s 1.4 billion people live.

India reported 326,098 new confirmed cases and 3,890 deaths in the past 24 hours, though experts say both figures are an undercount. The Health Ministry had reported 343,144 cases on Friday and 362,727 on Thursday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday warned people to take extra precautions as the virus was spreading fast in rural areas. He said the government was mobilizing all resources, including the military.

News reports say villagers have been rushing the sick to nearby towns and cities for treatment because health care facilities are limited in the countryside.

India’s capital has reported less than 10,000 new cases in a day for the first time in over a month. It recorded 8,506 cases in the past 24 hours.

After a peak of 11,000 daily infections, Mumbai, India’s financial and entertainment capital, has been reporting less than 2,000.

———

Masks are still required under a Transportation Security Administration rule that will run into mid-September unless it is revoked before then. The Federal Aviation Administration, which regulates airlines, felt the need to remind passengers of the TSA rule.

It issued a statement late Friday to “remind the traveling public that at this time if you travel, you are still required to wear a mask on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.”

———

NEW YORK — Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, says it won’t require vaccinated shoppers or workers to wear a mask in its U.S. stores, unless state or local laws say otherwise.

Vaccinated shoppers can go maskless immediately, the company said. Vaccinated workers can stop wearing them on May 18. As an incentive, Walmart said it is offering workers $75 if they prove they’ve been vaccinated.

Walmart says it won’t ask shoppers if they’ve been vaccinated. Workers, however, will need to tell the company if they’ve been vaccinated in order to go maskless.

———



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Walt Disney World Increasing Capacity, Could Change Mask Requirement


Capacity limits are on their way up at Walt Disney World, and mask requirements at the Florida park may soon be a thing of the past.

New guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Thursday could lead to rapidly implemented changes at Walt Disney World, company CEO Bob Chapek said during an earnings call.

The park had been operating at 35 percent capacity in recent weeks. Chapek said that number has already been increased, but he didn’t say when increased capacity went into effect — or exactly how many more visitors have been allowed in the park.

He also didn’t specify when the mask requirement might end, but he called the CDC announcement big news for the theme park.

“Obviously, today’s guidance that we got from the CDC in terms of those that were vaccinated do not necessarily need to wear masks anymore, both outdoors and indoors, is very big news for us, particularly if anybody’s been in Florida in the middle of summer with a mask on,” Chapek said. “That could be quite daunting.”

Over the past few weeks, Disney has been relenting on many of its strict pandemic protocols. Many locations at the resort have ended temperature checks, and social distancing is beginning to be reduced from six feet to three feet in some locations.

“We believe that as we’re now bringing back a lot of people back to work, that it’s going to be an even bigger catalyst for growth in attendance,” Chapek said. “So I think you’re going to see an immediate increase in the number of folks that we’re able to admit into our parks through our reservation systems that we recently implemented.”

The relaxed rules only apply to Disney World, Chapek said, noting that state regulations in California continue to limit capacity at Disneyland to 25 percent. Disneyland and California Adventure opened in late April, and demand is extremely high, he said.

“Since we’ve opened up Disneyland Resort, intent to visit is actually growing well, so we’re thrilled with the guest response to that,” he said. “So as capacity limits increase, we don’t think we’re going to have any problem at all … increasing our attendance to match that capacity. That is not something that keeps any of us up at night.”

For both parks, increasing capacity requires an increase in workers. And despite the workforce being furloughed for much of the pandemic, Chapek said it hasn’t been an issue getting employees back.

“We’ve had about 80 percent of our cast members return that we’ve asked to return,” he said. “Obviously, one of the gating factors for us to continue to increase capacity is to continue to get more and more cast members back. It thrills us to be able to do that, but we’ve had no problems whatsoever in terms of trying to get our cast to come back and make some magic for our guests.”

Want to get in on the magic? Get planning with all our Disney content here, plus additional Orlando inspiration.



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