HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Aloha Stadium Swap Meet reopened today, nearly three months after coronavirus pandemic forced its closure.
The popular outdoor marketplace reopened with empty spaces between vendors to encourage social distancing. Stadium officials also put up signs to encourage shoppers to follow a “one way” traffic pattern.
“I’m happy when they’re opening like this. We waiting a long time for them to open," said produce vendor Toi Thammavong. He added that the shutdown took away his family’s main source of income.
“Everywhere was so slow. And then my wife had no work. I have no income either.”
Pre-pandemic, there about 300 vendors at the swap meet. But many of those that cater to the visitor market are still waiting for the state to reopen for mainland travel. About 200 vendors were on hand today.
Local shoppers, however, said they were impressed by the turnout.
“I was actually very surprised at how many vendors came out. I thought everybody would be kind of scared at first,” said Rebecca Meyer of Kalihi, who purchased a surf board.
“But it was nice to see everyone out, nice to get what I wanted.”
Added Mililani native Dottie Kay: “I’m glad it’s reopened. I’m glad to see people out, all the local folks. Everybody out having a good day in this beautiful weather," she said.
But some had mixed feelings about today’s reopening.
“A lot of people need to make money but it’s the same concern about being safe. It’s matter of surviving to pay your bills or being healthy," said vendor Kea Kelemete.
Virgy Malong, who lost most of her income when the swap meet shut down, said the social distancing requirements are a small price to pay for reopening.
“The sales today is good, It’s not too bad. The only thing is you got to do social distancing,” she said.