With lots of changes, salons, barbers and other ‘medium-risk’ businesses reopen on Kauai

A reward for weeks of no new cases: Kauai continues to reopen medium-risk businesses

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Some “medium-risk” businesses and operations on Kauai reopened Friday, including salons and barbers and pools.

Kauai County had the strictest rules in place to curb the spread of the virus, including a nightly curfew and roving police checkpoints.

Because of that, the Garden Isle hasn’t had an active COVID-19 case in more than a month.

Among the businesses that opened Friday: Salon 203 in Lihue.

Owner Lee Anne Apao says they’ve been preparing for this day for weeks.

“We added like plexiglass, sneeze guards over our stations, I had a contractor build our dividers in between our clients. We steam cleaned the floors we took everything out of the salon,” she said.

Apao says her salon is already booked for the next two months.

And she wants her clients to prepare for a very different experience.

The business is strictly limiting the number of customers allowed inside. Clients must wait in their cars until they’re called inside. After sanitizing their hands, they must get their temperatures checked and sign a waiver.

Face masks must be worn for all services.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami says the reopenings are a result of the efforts made by residents to flatten the curve. But he’s also asking people to be careful.

“We’re just happy to get people back to work and it’s a constant reminder that people should take a look outside of our little bubble that we live in and see that there is a threat that still remains,” he said.

Other business owners are taking their time to get back to work.

Antone Teves, of Kipu Ranch Adventure, said he could have opened Friday but decided to wait a while longer.

"We’re redoing the way we do tours to more of a private one guide-one family type operation," he said.

“I wanna feel like it’s something I would have my own family do and In order to do that we have to kind of slow down and take our time.”

He says before the pandemic 98% of his customers were visitors.

Now, the company plans to roll out peddle-assist electric bikes to appeal to locals and provide a completely different experience of Kauai.

“The whole recreational side of that is just magical,” he said.

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