HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Movie theaters, fitness centers, bars and other venues on Oahu have been given the green light to reopen on June 19, as long as social distancing is enforced.
The Governor’s Office confirmed the timeline Thursday.
The date was included in a city plan approved by the governor.
With the order, Mayor Kirk Caldwell is effectively reopening the vast majority of Oahu’s kamaaina economy ― something other lawmakers have urged him to do.
Bill Comerford of the Hawaii Bar Owners Association said the reopening date comes not a moment too soon.
“There’s so many bars that I’ve been talking to that have said that ‘I’m ready to step away.’ So if they make this move, it’s a benefit for the whole recovery of the industry," he said.
Comerford added that bar owners were anxious about the upcoming June 30 deadline to renew their liquor licenses because they didn’t have enough revenue to pay the fee. The Honolulu Liquor Commission Thursday extended the deadline for additional license fees owed on gross liquor sales for the current fiscal year. and extended certificates of registration that expired while the Liquor Commission officers were closed due to the COVID-19 shutdowns.
The planned reopenings come as the number of new COVID-19 cases in Hawaii remains low, spurring Hawaii leaders to refocus their concern on the state’s faltering economy.
Given Hawaii’s reliance on tourism, the state has one of the highest unemployment rates and hundreds of thousands of people remain out of work. On Oahu in April, the unemployment rate was 20%.
Meanwhile, Oahu eateries on Friday will welcome back dine-in customers with new operating standards. Restaurants will be separating tables at least 6 feet apart, and most employees will have to wear masks.
At Odoriko on Kapiolani Boulevard, customers will have the option of disposable utensils and plates. Digital menus in place of a hard copy can be activated by a QR code on your phone.
“We only have 10 tables. Used to have 20 or 25 so that does limit number of customers we can have,” said Hiro Takei, co-owner of Odoriko. "So it may seem full but a full house is probably only 50%."
Restaurants recommend making reservations due to the now limited seating capacities.
They also assure customers of frequent disinfecting and sanitizing of menus and other reusable items.