Oahu businesses given the OK to reopen say they’re taking a cautious approach

Published: Apr. 30, 2020 at 10:00 AM HST|Updated: Apr. 30, 2020 at 10:03 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After being forced to shut down operations under the stay-at-home order, some businesses on Oahu are gearing up to reopen. But they say they’re moving forward cautiously.

The governor is allowing some Oahu businesses that do not involve close-group interactions to reopen Thursday.

The list includes some real estate services, vehicle dealerships, automated services like car washes, mobile service providers, tutoring and other at-home services, golf courses and grave site visits.

It’s a big relief for some businesses that have been closed up for weeks.

“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. This is now going to be a part of our normal work uniform, wearing a mask every day," Scheuring said.

He said he’s unsure of the demand since many people are unemployed, so they’re hoping to entice buyers any way they can.

“If you're a consumer and you're in the market for a car right now, there's never been a better time to come out and look at a car, I can tell you," he said. "Our inventories are bulging at the seams."

Realtor Judy Sobin said she has been getting lots of requests from people wanting to buy homes.

“We’ll have open houses that are by appointment, so we won’t have more than one couple in at a time,” said Sobin. “We’ll have cleanser for them if they would like to clean their hands before and after open houses and I’ll have extra masks there in case they don’t have anything.”

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.

“I’m gonna wait until May 15th and decide.”

While many are anxious to get back to business, the governor cautioned against celebrating too soon. He warned until there is a vaccine, social distancing and taking other precautions are Hawaii’s new normal.

State leaders added that keeping COVID-19 cases down is the key to restarting tourism — and the rest of Hawaii’s economy.

“Do continue to wear your mask when asked. Do continue to be very careful because as we move into phase two of reopening our economy, the best thing we can do is keep this virus wiped out,” said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

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