HONOLULU (KHON2) — Businesses are closing and many more are on the verge of shutting down as restrictions related to the pandemic continue.

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Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s latest emergency proclamation prohibits indoor and outdoor gatherings, and limits groups to no more than five. Hawaii Governor David Ige postponed reopening Hawaii to tourism to Oct. 1. Both decisions, along with myriad other restrictions and rules put in place since March, are having grave impacts on local businesses.

Many stores and restaurants are already boarded up. According to Yelp, nearly 900 closed between March and July and 10% of those are gone for good.

In the last two days alone, the Waikiki Aquarium announced they are closing indefinitely and Charthouse Waikiki, a popular eatery with 52 years of service, is shutting its doors until further notice.

Many more are likely headed down that same road.

According to Chamber of Commerce Hawaii President Sherry Menor-McNamara, a survey by UHERO and the COC polled 500 businesses statewide in July and roughly 90 of them said they were closing.

“Unfortunately it is a grim outlook…With the delay in tourism opening that also will contribute to businesses not being able to stand some of the brutal symptoms that COVID is having on our economy,” Menor-McNamara said.

Square Barrels restaurant partner Thomas Ray said restrictions surrounding the pandemic are creating an “almost hysterical kind of feeling.”

Ray said every emergency proclamation, every press conference limiting what businesses can do and delaying tourism makes it harder for them to survive.

“This reducing occupancy to five per part, it just destroys consumer confidence. And it’s almost as if its going to drag out the process longer. We need to get to a place in the community where people feel comfortable going out and doing business at retail shops, restaurants.”

Without consumer confidence, Ray said, it’s like businesses are sitting in the doldrums with no relief in site.

Tina Yamaki, President of Retail Merchants of Hawaii said a lot of Hawaii businesses told her they won’t survive another month.

Yamaki said local retailers are closing every single day. That means fewer jobs and more people on unemployment.

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