For businesses, Oahu’s likely move into Tier 3 offers some much-needed hope

Updated: Feb. 23, 2021 at 1:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - With Oahu’s COVID case case staying low, the island is almost certain to move into Tier 3 on Thursday, which means fewer restrictions on businesses and gatherings.

  • Distancing rules will still apply in Tier 3.
  • However, there will be no capacity limits for retailers and spiritual services.
  • Social gatherings sizes will increase to 10 people.
  • Restaurants can also allow 10 people per party.
  • Gyms will be allowed to increase capacity from 25% to 50%.

“If all goes well, we’ll have 30 people in our gym. Right now, we have 15,” said Chris Faildo, owner of Flexx Fitness Hawaii.

Faildo opened Flexx Fitness Hawaii in August, right before gyms were forced to close under Honolulu’s second “stay-at-home” order. In September, they were allowed to reopen to outdoor exercise only.

Today, Faildo operates at 25% capacity and hopes to open up to 50% capacity by Thursday.

Faildo says sanitizing and temperature checks have kept COVID out of his gym.

“I’m pleased that it’s going to the next phase and hopefully it goes onto the next phase, number four, and hopefully it goes all back to normal,” Faildo said.

After four months of waiting for the case count to drop, some business owners say Tier 3 couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We’re to the point where we’re just surviving,” said Pali Lanes owner Art Machado.

Machado said the state’s oldest bowling alley may stay open after all.

“If I don’t get Tier 3, it’s a closure coming down,” Machado said.

Machado, 80, says places like Pali Lanes in Kailua are essential for both physical and mental health.

“You’re moving your body. You’re getting involved. You’re also talking with people, which is so essential in our lives. These are things I hate to see disappear,” he said.

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi said he is considering changing Tier 3 restrictions to accommodate bars and youth sports.

If the average case count stays under 20, the soonest Oahu would move to the least-restrictive Tier 4 is March 25.

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