Oahu shopping malls reopen to thin crowds and many stores still locked up

Updated: May. 15, 2020 at 5:53 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Retailers and shopping malls reopened Friday on Oahu, and the governor is poised to make a decision soon when to allow restaurants, salons and gyms to resume operations.

“Everyone wants the medium-risk businesses open," said Lt. Gov. Josh Green.

“I definitely want them open by the end of the month. That’s what were giving the strongest recommendation to the governor for."

Leaders are focused on rebooting the economy as the state continues to see just a handful of new COVID-19 cases daily. On Friday, there was just one new case — on the Big Island.

With the case count so low, retailers are happy to be welcoming customers back.

At 11 a.m. Friday, Na Hoku was one of the Ala Moana stores that unlocked its doors for the first time in two months.

While jewelry may be an extra during this economy, store district manager Julia MacDonald is relieved to be open and says everything gets sanitized after someone touches it.

"I'm so excited to get back in working with our customers. We miss them so much," she said.

“They are waving at us in the window and they are like yes, let us out of these houses and let us get shopping.”

Jennifer Lau took her 11-year-old granddaughter Meagan Hashimoto out, mostly to window shop.

“Do something to get out of the house basically,” said Lau. “It’s quiet. Not a whole lot of stores are open yet. I wanted the bigger stores open,” she added.

Her granddaughter didn't seem impressed.

"It's kinda dead. Nothing here. Pretty boring," said Hashimoto. "A lot better than being home," she added.

Roughly a quarter of the mall’s 350 stores are open. Nearly all of the anchor tenants, like Bloomingdales, Nordstrom and Ross are closed. The sign on Macy’s said it would reopen on May 22.

From the Shoe Palace to Anthropologie to the line at Louis Vuitton, shoppers waited for their turn to get into stores as retailers enforced capacity limits.

Shoppers on the escalator stood 6 feet apart, there was constant cleaning, the food courts are open for take-out only, barricades blocked large seating areas and masks are mandatory.

“Handshaking and unnecessary physical engagement is also prohibited by the mandate. If you do not comply, you will be quietly asked to leave,” said one of the signs posted for customers.

"It was nice. It was quite a few people out. It's wasn't packed. Just local folks looking for bargains," said shopper Ted Roberts.

Ala Moana Center is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

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