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‘Low risk’ businesses reopen with limitations to lots of customers

Lines of cars waited to pull into Flagship Car Wash in Waipio Friday.
Lines of cars waited to pull into Flagship Car Wash in Waipio Friday.((Source: Hawaii News Now))
Published: May. 1, 2020 at 6:20 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As the local economy begins reopening in phases, select businesses on Oahu were busy on their first full day back in operation.

Many of these so-called "low risk" businesses have adjusted their operations and implemented changes to ensure the safety of their customers and employees.

“Our customers are excited,” said Brandon Price, director of operations at Flagship Car Wash in Waipio. “They’re emailing us, they’re coming in. They haven’t been in for over a month.”

Lines of cars waited to pull into the car was Friday.

Automated car washes were part of the city's first round of businesses to reopen.

Employees wore masks and gloves, and the complimentary vacuums were off limits, but customers didn't mind.

"I'm glad because I don't like to wash my car by hand," laughed Cliff Bartek.

"I think its good. Just got to practice social distancing and still wear our masks to stay safe," said Suzy Kukona.

Price says the business took a financial hit being shut down, but he says they're grateful they didn't have to layoff any staff.

"We were able to keep all of our employees, we were able to continue to pay our employees, and keep them on staff. It's good to be reopened again," he said.

Some public and private golf courses have already reopened, and say tee times are filling up quick.

Meanwhile, after getting approval from the state, some florists resumed operations Friday to prepare for the busy Mother's Day holiday.

Monty Pereira, general manager of Watanabe Floral in Kalihi, says they initially planned to do a 1,000 floral arrangements, but he says the demand is so great, they're almost at 1,500 orders.

"The problem right now is trying to secure more product, and we're not able to get too much more product," Pereira said.

Pereira says they're planning to open the store to customers next week Thursday, with a limit on how many people can be inside the shop at once.

He says they're initially going to sell mostly tropical flowers to help get local growers back on their feet.

"We want to make sure we can scale up in an appropriate way, but the bigger reason is to try and bring the business back home," he said.

State and County officials say they are working together on plans to reopen other types of businesses, but they have warned that if there is a spike in infections, mandates may have to be reinstated.

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