Why has Tanioka’s stopped taking New Year’s orders? It’s a sign of the times

From hospitals to grocery stores, the COVID surge is businesses and institutions across the state.
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:11 PM HST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2021 at 5:17 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - From hospitals to grocery stores, the COVID surge is businesses and institutions across the state.

If you’re going to visit a business, it’s likely they’ll have fewer workers.

Tanioka’s Seafoods and Catering is one of the many businesses affected by the high amount of community transmission. They’re closing during one of their busiest times of the year.

A post on their Facebook page says they’ll be closed until Jan. 19 for the safety of staff and customers due to the statewide surge.

“I was hungry before I came here and now, I’m even hungrier and I’m sad,” said California resident Andrew Oshiro, who discovered the closure Wednesday.

“It’s unfortunate that they’re closed, but I understand,” added Dayton Lee, a California resident. “They got to do what they got to do. So we just have to find another place to go.”

The business didn’t say if any of their staff tested positive, but there are hundreds of businesses on the island struggling with having enough people to come in and work.

“It’s across the board,” said Tina Yamaki, the president of the Retail Merchants of Hawaii. “It’s every industry that’s looking whether it’s the delivery people, whether it’s in the stores themselves, everyone.”

Sherry Menor-McNamara, the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Hawaii, said the situation “just adds to the challenges of the workforce shortage.”

Hotels say their workforce seems to be managing.

“We’re in pretty good shape,” said Mufi Hannemann, president and CEO of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association. “If there’s a problem at all, probably the properties that are smaller, boutique independent hotels that don’t have a large workforce or a large pool of workers to draw from.”

Hannemann said the hotel industry is preparing for the 700 supplemental health care workers to come to Hawaii to help hospitals with their shortages.

He is confident they will be able to assist everyone especially with the holiday season coming to an end, but there is a lifeline for the hotels hurting.

Hawaiian Airlines, meanwhile, is reporting that there are 150 positive cases among staff. It’s an industry-wide issue that can be seen in the hundreds of canceled flights this week.

The new five-day quarantine rule alleviates the burn, but businesses have another set of challenges.

“Get vaccinated so places like Tanioka’s can open back up,” said Oshiro.

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