Oahu bar owners come up with creative ways to keep patrons separated

Updated: Jun. 20, 2020 at 10:35 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - After a three-month shutdown, bars are finally back open.

But on Friday night, it was anything but booming.

“Pretty slow. A lot of the buildings are empty, a lot of people still at home and just waiting for everybody to get back,” said Reid Wheelon, bartender at Ferguson’s Pub. “This is really different from a normal Friday.”

There are fewer chairs at Ferguson’s Pub in order to follow social distancing standards; surfaces are cleaned constantly and Wheelon wears a mask.

Patrons say it’s good to be back.

“I think I missed most just being around friends, just being around small groups of people,” said Norman Slaustas. “Human beings are social. I think being kept in something like house arrest is not healthy.”

The owner of Wang Chung's in Waikiki is taking extra steps to make his patrons feel safe.

“Here, we have these socially distancing booths here. Everything’s enclosed with plexiglass. We have tape on the floor to show that this is your space and if you need even more separation, you can pull out these little cute curtains,” said Danny Chang.

Wang Chung’s is technically a karaoke bar.

However, singing during live performances is currently prohibited.

Chang says if the governor allows it, they will be ready.

“This originally was supposed to be our karaoke booth,” Chang said. “We were going to enclose it with plexiglass and doors … it was going to have a single use microphone cover … and put a UV light so that was going to be able kill the coronavirus.”

Chang said everyone’s temperature will be taken upon arrival, they will be requiring masks when patrons are walking around and colored wristbands will be handed out to identify various groups.

The bar is also blocked off to prevent people from congregating.

“It’s safety for both our patrons and our staff. It’s so important to have a safe environment and in these really uncertain times we’re going to try to do our best,” he said.

The mayor’s office said they’re currently working on new guidance that’ll allow live performances to include singing, which will be submitted to the governor.

No decision has been made yet.

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