As new COVID-19 cases continue to drop, retailers ramp up to reopen

Updated: Sep. 15, 2020 at 10:22 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Monday if the drop in cases continue, retailers would be given the go-ahead to reopen.

“We’re hoping by the end of the week, we will be announcing a new order that will open things and retail will be one of the first things to open,” he said, at a news conference.

That’s giving hope to small businesses like Eden in Love in Ward Village, which has moved its business online. Even as a 10-year successful boutique, the store’s creative director said the pandemic has taken a toll and they are eager to have one-on-one interaction with customers again.

“We’re so excited to welcome our customers back to our store and have them shop with us in real life,” said Alyssa Han. “The one thing that we ask for though is time, because of course as a small business you have limited staff, and we would love to have at least a few days to prep.”

Across the street at Ward Centre, the owner of Pili Pacific says the pandemic has made him consider closing for good.

“It’s hard. It’s challenging for us all but one of the nice things about Hawaii is that we’ve been able to pull together and get through,” said Herman Piikea Clark.

Clark said the mayor’s announcement gave him hope.

“That was a nice surprise to hear,” Clark said. “It is nice that we have a chance to open.”

Economists say data shows the worst may be behind us.

“There is some interesting things going on suggesting it’s not gonna get a lot worse particularly if we get tourism reopened and we’re beginning to see small business revenue tick up again,” said Carl Bonham, University of Hawaii Economic Research Organization executive director.

However, the governor announced on Monday that the mass tourism relaunch will likely be delayed once again.

“It will probably not be October 1st, but in the next few days we’ll be coming up with a better plan on what those dates would look like,” said Gov. David Ige.

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