Oahu retailers left puzzled over ‘lack of collaboration’ in reopening announcement

Confusing announcement about reopening date created a case of whiplash for retailers

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After the governor’s announcement Tuesday about reopening a large portion of Hawaii’s economy, Oahu retailers started scrambling to figure out how they’d reopen in two days.

Then came a sudden change: The Governor’s Office said the reopening date for Oahu was actually May 15.

Global Village in Kailua went into overdrive immediately after Ige’s announcement.

“Being a family business, it was all hands on deck. We had the kids, my parents, my sister and my mom, we were all in here cleaning,” said Global Village co-owner Debbie Hopkins.

They were so busy, they only learned of Ige’s date change to May 15 the next morning.

"Just disappointed with the wishy-washiness and the lack of collaboration," said Hopkins.

She said it's been difficult making any decisions about the status of their employees and whether to accept government loans because of the uncertainty and the confusion.

“For some of us, it was a little confusing. When someone called and told me, I thought they were joking and pulling a prank on me and then we found out, it’s real,” Retail Merchants of Hawaii President Tina Yamaki.

Yamaki says while businesses are eager to start the cash flow again, many retailers would not have been ready to open by Thursday. And they know even on May 15, the retail business will still be far short of normal.

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