Select businesses allowed to reopen in first steps toward reopening economy

Updated: Apr. 30, 2020 at 2:43 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Oahu is dipping a toe into efforts to reopen Hawaii’s economy.

On Thursday, restrictions were lifted on a small number of businesses on the island:

  • Certain real estate services will now be allowed.
  • Car dealerships can reopen for sales and leasing activities, with restrictions.
  • All automated service providers, such as automated car washes will also be permitted.
  • Mobile providers, such as mobile pet groomers, have also been given the green light.
  • Services provided on a one-on-basis can be done as long as social distancing is maintained.
  • And all public and private golf courses can reopen under new guidelines.

Businesses will officially be allowed to resume operations starting at 4:30 p.m.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced earlier this week that he hoped to lift restrictions on some “low-risk” businesses, but said he’d need to get approval for the changes from the governor.

[READ MORE: Governor outlines plans to slowly reopen economy as number of new cases decline]

The new restrictions are included in an amended stay-at-home order that’s effective through May 18.

“We’d like to thank the governor and the other county mayors for meeting and working with us on this amended and restated emergency order,” Caldwell said, in a news release.

“Getting people back to work is a priority right now and we will continue to make decisions based on all available data and sound science.”

While businesses now allowed to operate were happy about the change, they also said they were taking a cautious approach. Some are only bringing back a handful of workers to begin with. Others are waiting a little while longer.

“Obviously, we’re really excited about it,” said Gary Scheuring, the general manager at Cutter Volvo.

But they’re jumping into the deep end of the pool.

Scheuring said only a few staff members will return this week. They will also offer solo test drives because of social distancing, do more work over the computer and phone, and will be cleaning cars and surfaces constantly.

“It’s going to be a little different buying environment for sure.”

Piano instructor Sharon Takara has been teaching students via Facetime since the stay-at-home order went into effect. She is eager for in-person lessons to resume — but is also reluctant to start too soon.

“Initially I was glad, yet I’m hesitant to just have them jump back in," she said.

This story will be updated.

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