Bars among businesses forced to remain closed as mayor unveils new tiered opening strategy

Coronavirus

HONOLULU(KHON2) — Bars and nightclubs are among the businesses forced to stay closed according to Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s new tiered reopening strategy. Just a handful of others received the same fate, while most businesses are allowed to reopen with modifications.

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Bill Comerford, Owner of Anna O’Brians, O’Tooles Irish Pub, Kelly O’Niels and Irish Rose Saloon said his four bars are shut down for good. Comerford said his businesses used to bring in roughly $3 million a year, and he was planning to sell them as a nest-egg for his retirement. But now, he is swamped with debt and said no one wants to buy them because owning a bar is economic suicide.

Under Caldwell’s new tiered reopening strategy, bar and nightclub re-openings are listed as ‘to be decided’ under the fourth and final tier.

Arcades, helicopter tours, legal short term rentals and outdoor organized team sports will also remain closed.

Massage and tattoo parlors are also a no-go for the time being.

Workout buffs will have to wait a while longer to go to indoor gyms. Only outdoor gyms will be allowed to reopen, but are limited to five people.

The continued closure of indoor gym facilities will postpone the grand opening of the new F45 Training studio in Hawaii Kai, according to owner David Morenfeld.

“It affects us financially. You know, the one nice thing is that we don’t have a labor burden,” Morenfeld said.

But Morenfeld mentioned he is eager to get his fitness trainers, who work as general contractors, some work.

Two other F45 Training studios are also closed and Morenfeld said they have seen a drop in membership, but they are finding other ways to connect with their members.

“We’ve been able to pivot and have been by offering online workouts. So, every day there’s a couple workouts that are done on Zoom calls. They’re live and we have a great online presence.”

Morenfeld said F45 also offers some outdoor classes.

Jeff Martin, Chief Operating Officer of Maui Brewing Company, was excited to hear that restaurants will be allowed to welcome customers back for dine-in service.

“The opportunity for us to reopen our restaurants, there couldn’t be better news today,” Martin said.

Restaurants are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity, limiting groups to five.

Caldwell’s order also requests guests make reservations and restaurants keep the names of all of their guests, which Martin said does create some challenges.

“That’s more investment, more resources, more things that we pour into the operating model,” Martin explained.

The Mayor’s tiered approach also means businesses could be forced to shut down again if cases spike.

“It’s scary to consider that we would go forward, backward, forward, backward, forward, backward for any prolonged period of time. The restaurant business is already hard to operate in normal times and that kind of back and forth will make it much more challenging,” Martin said.

Movie theaters are reopening at 50% capacity, but no food will be allowed.

Churches also got the green light for opening at 50% capacity, but with no singing.

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