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The new bar experience on Oahu: No live music. No big groups. And temp checks.

Updated: Jun. 19, 2020 at 10:10 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Friday night on Oahu will be a little bit more normal than it has been for months now: Bars are getting the green light to open.

But if you go, expect a very different experience. For one, there will be no live music.

On Thursday, the mayor changed his tune about live music at bars and restaurants.

A day after he said singing in an enclosed space is troubling and wearing a mask does not work if you’re singing, he said on a Zoom call with the governor that he’s working to bring back live performances.

But the change will require the governor’s approval.

Live music won’t be the only thing missing from Oahu bars when they reopen. Every establishment will have to cut its normal number of patrons by half.

Bars have been closed since the state shut down in March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. During the closure, several ― including Bevy in Kakaako ― have been surviving by serving food.

“It’s been good. It’s been helping out a little bit, but compared to the sales and revenue that we were generating before the shutdown, it’s like a drop in the bucket,” said Bevy owner Christian Self.

Now it’s time for drinks to be poured again, but with new rules:

  • Bars will have to remain at 50% of max occupancy or under.
  • No groups can be larger than 10
  • And every group must be separated by at least 6 feet.

“We used to be able to have 80 people inside, so now we’re down to anywhere between 30 and 50%, so about 40 people max,” Self said.

Patrons should also call ahead for reservations and expect a temperature check at the door.

Over in Kalihi, Broken Boundary Brewery is a new business that’s been coping with bad timing.

“We were planning our soft opening for March 20, which is the date Mayor Caldwell asked all bars and restaurants to close down,” said co-owner Chris Cook.

Cook says the brewery had hoped to host large events.

For now that’s off the table. They just want patrons to feel safe.

“To us, the safety is more important to us than our business,” Cook said. “Training all of our staff to wash their hands. We’re sanitizing all surfaces frequently. Asking all of our guests to wear masks when they’re not seated and following all of the city and county’s guidelines.”

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