As Hawaii business failures pile up, experts fear another wave this fall

Published: Jun. 13, 2020 at 2:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Business failures have already been piling up during the coronavirus pandemic. But business groups warn that another wave of closures are coming.

“My guess is ... probably a third of our businesses are going to be gone," said Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Business and Community Association.

During a walk down Chinatown on Friday, several shops ― restaurants, retailers and a jeweler ― were closed up and emptied of their furniture.

One kamaaina company, Do’s Formal, is liquidating all of its inventory. But its owners have not yet decided whether to close or remain open.

Shubert-Kwock said many of her group’s 300 members were not considered essential and were forced to close for several weeks. Many were not able to recover, she said.

Restaurants and bars have been the hardest hit.

“Everybody is suffering,” she said.

Many of these businesses are trying to hold out until August. Much of the federal stimulus money is expected to run out by then.

After that, business advocates are expecting another wave of failures.

“It is a big possibility that there are going to be a lot of people filing for bankruptcy because of this," said Tina Yamaki, president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii.

What’s more, Hawaii’s largest economic driver ― tourism ― isn’t expected to fully reopened until after August. “The longer tourism remains closed, the harder it is going to be on everybody," Yamaki said.

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