Despite criticism, city’s open street events in Waikiki and Chinatown will proceed

Despite criticism, city’s open street events in Waikiki and Chinatown will proceed
(Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city is reminding the public that a portion of Hotel Street will be closed off to vehicular traffic Saturday for “Dine in Chinatown” while a portion of Kalakaua Avenue will be closed each Sunday for the month of July from 6 a.m. to noon for “Open Street Kalakaua.”

In Chinatown, the closure for vehicles on Hotel Street runs from River Street to Richards Street.

Instead, it will be wide open for walking and biking from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The city also recently announced an extension of “Open Street Kalakaua” initiative into the month of July.

“After thorough discussion we have made the decision to proceed with both the ‘Dine in Chinatown’ one time pilot and the ‘Open Street Kalakaua’ initiative through the end of July,” said Mayor Kirk Caldwell, who had previously said he was considering postponing the events.

“We have been advised that being outside in the open air is safer than being in an enclosed environment. Closing Hotel Street in order to allow restaurants to spill out onto the entire sidewalk in front of their restaurants will provide a much needed boost to restaurants in the area.”

On Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Josh Green criticized these type of events.

“Promoting large gatherings is a big mistake, like what happened on Kalakaua Avenue.” Green said.

“It’s still the best thing to be in your little bubble through this time,” Green added during the interview with Hawaii News Now.

Regarding “Open Street Kalakaua” the city said, gatherings are not allowed unless they are in pods of 10 people or less and they must be moving at all times, whether it be walking, running, bike riding, skateboarding or using some other non-vehicular transportation.

“Our ‘Open Street Kalakaua’ allows residents of all ages to exercise in a safe manner on a wide and otherwise traffic congested street,” said Caldwell.

“For those who are exercising on Kalakaua, many are also visiting restaurants and other businesses in Waikiki in growing numbers, which is providing much needed economic assistance prior to the return of visitors to this area.”

Under the City’s Restore Honolulu Order tables at restaurants must be spaced six feed apart and all guests must wear face coverings until seated for the “Dine in Chinatown” event.

In addition, all serving staff must wear face coverings continually, to protect both guests, and wait staff. “Chinatown, with its rich history, is home to some of the best restaurants in Honolulu. Oahu needs Chinatown, and right now, Chinatown needs Oahu,” Caldwell.

At least 14 restaurants along or near Hotel Street will be open, and many of them will have either sidewalk dining or indoor/outdoor patio seating.

The city is also encouraging people to explore the rest of Chinatown, where many restaurants and stores will be open.

The creative arts district will be wide open, with several art galleries and retail stores open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with some new murals installed around the neighborhood.

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