Dine-in service resumed on Oahu on Friday after being suspended for months.
Many restaurant owners were thrilled to re-open their dining rooms to customers once again.
“We’ve been really looking forward to sitting in a restaurant and have a good meal,” said Pearl City resident Kea Fernandez.
She said she called early in the morning to make a reservation at The Surfing Pig in Kaimuki.
She said she wasn’t phased by servers or diners wearing face masks.
“It’s our new normal right? We’re okay with it. We get it,” she said.
On the North Shore, Breakers in Haleiwa re-opened for the first time since the shutdown began.
“I’m anxious, it’s a good anxious and I feel myself get uptight and keep saying to myself, ‘this is a good thing,’” said owner Barbara Weatherley-Lancaster.
She said they took the time off and renovated parts of the restaurant, including the bar area.
“We’re thinking we’ll close at 8 p.m. tonight because we don’t have the bar open, and if it’s really, really slow, we’ll close it earlier we’ll just play it by ear,” she said.
Under the re-opening guidance, diners must wear a mask when entering and leaving a restaurant. Diners do not need to wear a mask once they are seated.
There can be no more than 10 people per table and diners should not intermingle within the restaurant.
Restaurants must also sanitize hourly and no condiments can be left on the table.
Cholo’s Restaurant in Haleiwa put QR Scanners on their tables so customers can scan the code on their phone to see the menu rather than touching a menu another customer had touched.
Restaurants must also provide condiments per customers’ request and can only be used in a single-use disposable packet, or reusable containers that are sanitized between parties.
All tables must be spread out six-feet apart, which has been difficult for smaller restaurants.
On Friday, Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced a sidewalk seating pilot program to help add more tables outside of restaurants.
The city said no permits are needed to add seating outside.
“I’m not sure this is going to help restaurants survive but at least it gives them a fighting opportunity,” said Stan Glander, owner of Surfing Pig and Kono’s Restaurants.
“Our seating is 50%, which isn’t much and that’s the hardest part,” said David Hanus, Yanagi Sushi restaurant manager. “We’ll continue our take out orders and hopefully numbers balance out, and we will survive.”
Yanagi Sushi has also added plexi glass to ensure customer safety.
“We have custom-made plexi glass inserts to divide between the customers, so if customers feel it’s going to help them, we’ll put in an insert to make them feel more comfortable,” he added.