Oahu businesses, still recovering from the last shutdown, prepare for another one

Updated: Aug. 25, 2020 at 3:58 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Five months after the state’s first “stay-at-home” order was issued, Oahu is preparing to go through it all over again.

A new “stay-at-home” mandate for Oahu will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, closing all non-essential businesses ― from retailers and gyms to salons and car dealerships.

The shutdown will last for two weeks. Officials say they’ll use that time to dramatically ramp up coronavirus testing, the state’s contact tracing program and the availability of hotel rooms for isolation.

The order will be a significant hit to Oahu’s already-struggling businesses, many of which never recovered from the first stay-at-home order.

But economists have noted that the COVID-19 surge on Oahu has had its own economic toll, keeping diner out of restaurants and shoppers out of malls.

After the shutdown announcement Tuesday, hair stylist Dayna Okuma at the The Style Loft was scrambling to accommodate as many customers as possible before the order took effect.

“We just got caught up from the previous shut down so it’s gonna be another roller coaster,” Okuma said. “I’m worried its not going to be two weeks. I have a feeling it’s going to be longer.”

While some business owners were devastated by the news, others are trying to be optimistic.

Ryan Ko, the general manager at Shokudo, supported the shutdown.

“Some businesses will suffer but at the same time I think long-term it’s better if we do this sooner than later because the consequences later on might be way worse than it might be now," Ko said.

“I think we’re going in the right direction.”

But there were voices opposing the shutdown. A Facebook post Tuesday advertised a #FreeHawaii protest this weekend in front of the mayor’s office. And elsewhere on social media, some Oahu residents expressed skepticism that the shutdown would work or that it was necessary.

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