Salons, barber shops and other ‘personal service providers’ on Oahu get OK to reopen Friday

Updated: May. 28, 2020 at 7:15 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Time to make your hair appointments, Oahu.

The governor has given the green light for hair and nail salons, barber shops and other “personal service providers” on Oahu to reopen Friday — more than two months after they were ordered to close.

Aaron Fune of Mojo Barbershop in downtown Honolulu tentatively began accepting appointments starting June 1. Then the governor approved an opening three days earlier than that.

That put Fune in motion, doing his last-minute preparations at a faster pace.

“This has been the craziest day for me -- all this prep work. But I’m excited to be back to work,” he said.

Fune said he had to shut down two barber stations to allow for social distancing. He’s also not accepting walk-ins. Fune and the shop’s three other remaining barbers are already booked through June 11.

Gov. David Ige also approved a broader city timeline for reopening other “medium-risk” activities.

  • A number of outdoor attractions will be allowed to reopen Thursday, including water parks, pools, campgrounds, shooting and archery ranges, and similar outdoors facilities.
  • On June 5, restaurants will allowed to offer dine-in service again, and non-commercial gatherings of 10 or less will allowed. “Non-essential” businesses will also be free to bring workers back to the office.
  • The city announced that Honolulu Zoo will also reopen June 5 on a modified schedule.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said he wants indoor venues like movie theaters, museums and fitness centers to reopen June 19. The Governor’s Office said that request will be submitted in a separate proposal.

While businesses are given the green light to reopen, many of them are expected to take more time to prepare.

Sea Life Park said while it was included in Thursday’s list of permissible businesses, it hadn’t yet set a timeline for reopening. The attraction said it is preparing protocols and is preparing to resume operations soon.

City pools, farmers markets and campgrounds are also not ready to reopen.

But other businesses said they were ready to reopen their doors.

Wet n’ Wild Hawaii in West Oahu said they were delighted to resume operations starting Friday.

“We’re doing a lot of final water balancing over the last 24 hours. It’s ready to go," park general manager Jerry Pupillo said on Thursday. "They said we could open today but we had a lot of cosmetic things and landscaping and touching up that we wanted to do throughout the park.”

Caldwell said at a news conference Tuesday that reopening more areas of the so-called “kamaaina economy” was thanks to "all the hard efforts that all of us have taken.”

He added that if infections soar, some restrictions may be reinstated.

“We can get through this,” he said. “By continuing to work together ... and go through challenges we don’t even know about yet.”

As the number of new cases has continued to dwindle, the state and counties have moved to cautiously reopen more businesses. Last week and Monday, a slew of “medium-risk” businesses on the Neighbor Islands reopened, including salons and barber shops and outdoor common areas and pools.

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County parks and playgrounds will reopen in Maui County on Monday.

Also on Monday, Big Island dine-in areas at restaurants will welcome customers back.

Hawaii has continued to see a low number or no new cases of COVID-19 in recent weeks, with a traveler quarantine still in effect.

Public health officials have agreed that it’s safe to reopen much of Hawaii’s economy as long as people avoid large groups, practice social distancing and wear masks.

Even so, they’ve warned Hawaii to be prepared for an uptick in COVID-19 cases.

And they say the real test for the state will be when tourism reopens — something that the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism has indicated might not happen until September.

In a Hawaii Tourism Authority committee meeting Wednesday, tourism leaders called on the governor to release a proposed timeline for reopening to mainland and international visitors.

“That’s the missing ingredient," said Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “We need a date.”

He added that shuttered hotels will need weeks to prepare to reopen to visitors.

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