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Shut down again, small businesses in Kailua worry about their future

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 1:51 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 1:54 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The stay-at-home order that went into effect last week has made things even worse for shops and other businesses in Kailua, which were already struggling.

Keno Knieriem owns Treehouse Coworking, a shared office space that opened in 2018. Knieriem says the business community in Kailua is worried about its future.

Treehouse Coworking was hit hard by the first shutdown earlier this year, with Knieriem reporting the company say an instant loss of as much as 40 percent in revenue.

Businesses are struggling not only to pay the rent, but to keep up with the state’s latest guidance.

“I think one of the hardest issues is the ability for businesses to plan, so going into a shutdown with 36 hours heads up, is it two weeks, is it four weeks is it six weeks,” says Knieriem.

“We need to have the information so we can plan with employees with our expenses with potential revenue or lack their of.”

“The frustrating part is it came out of nowhere,” added Kelley Porter, the owner of Morea Studio.

“There was no warning. We had 24 hours to shut and we had all of our clients... Everybody was in the dark, how long is this going to happen?”

Other tourism-based businesses, like Dolphin Excursions, agree that they need more clarity from the state about what they can and can’t do. Victor Lozano owns the business and says he’s been able to do tours but many people don’t realize that it’s still allowed.

“You almost need a lawyer to understand some of the rules and it’s led to some of my employees being hassled by the public,” said Lozano.

Amid the frustration, Windward business owners say they are sticking together and hope to weather the storm by supporting one another.

“We are coping and looking well into the future, maybe next year, March, maybe we can break the back of this thing sooner than later,” said Lozano. “But we have to plan long-term to stay alive until then.”

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