3-week bar shutdown on Oahu has some owners uncertain if they’ll reopen

3-week bar shutdown on Oahu has some owners uncertain if they’ll reopen
The city has shut down Oahu bars for three weeks. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bars on Oahu, already struggling to keep the lights on, are now trying to figure out how to get through the next three weeks with no revenue.

The city shut down bars islandwide Friday amid a surge in new COVID-19 cases.

Bar owners say they’re being unfairly targeted, but the city says bars pose an inherent risk. There have been at least two clusters of COVID-19 infections linked to Oahu bars.

There have also been clusters tied to gyms, funerals, and large gatherings.

Bill Comerford, of the Hawaii Bar Owners Association, has been in the bar business for over four decades and a bar owner for 22 years.

He said the new shutdown could have some bars closing for good.

“I have 80 employees that will be out of work. I have a 100 musicians that will be out of work, a few comedians that won’t be able to get a gig to go forward with,” he said.

“What’s the likelihood of us coming back? Zero.”

Dan Mangum, marketing director of Nextdoor, said all bars are being penalized for a few establishments breaking the rules.

Nextdoor was cited Wednesday night by the Honolulu Liquor Commission.

“It kind of shocked us just because as a bar and as an establishment, we’ve taken a lot of steps to ensure the safety of the community,” Mangum said.

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