HONOLULU (KHON2) — Honolulu has been in Tier 3 since Thursday, Feb. 25. It is clear people and businesses are enjoying the relaxed rules after months of strict guidelines limiting gatherings to no more than five.
Smiling faces, happy feet and busy businesses were a common sight on Saturday, Feb. 27. Many took advantage of the little bit of extra freedom allowed in Tier 3.
Mililani resident Chris Swoboda brought his daughter and a group of her friends to Dave & Buster’s for the afternoon.
“Look, everybody’s having fun,” Swoboda said gesturing to his daughter and her friends playing games nearby. “We’re relaxing, and everybody is getting money back into the economy and everything is doing good.”
Restrictions loosened on Oahu on Thursday and allowed groups of up to 10 people to gather while eliminating capacity limits for restaurants, retails stores and churches. Arcade limits also increased from 25% to 50%.
Dave & Buster’s senior corporate sales manager Kendra Murray said, it has been an incredible difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3.
“We are just getting smashed right now with all of the guests that are coming out,” Murray said. “They are just super excited to move to the next level, as we are. We are seeing a lot of people coming out just with their families, just to let loose.”
The increase in business means employees can get back to work as well.
“We were getting a lot of calls, so we brought in all of our staff,” Murray explained. “We’re upping our management team. I just returned from furlough last month. So we knew that we were ramping up to get to this level. We’re ready, so people come on down!”
Restaurants around town were crowded as many waited in long lines to get in.
Retail stores were also seeing a bump in foot traffic, according to Local Motion Hawaii store manager Ashley Young.
“I was definitely pretty excited,” Young said. “I mean, it’s good for business, especially the local businesses.”
She said, removing the capacity limit — especially for smaller shops — makes a difference.
“The biggest challenge that we faced in Tier 2 was definitely limiting the amount of customers that we were able to have in our store. That led to longer lines outside, wait times for customers. A lot of times that would deflect business.”
Bars and organized team sports are still not permitted, according to the Honolulu Reopening Strategy Framework, while Tier 3 eased restrictions for most businesses.
Murray and Young said, moving up a tier was a step in the right direction to rebuilding the economy, but they are already looking forward to moving into Tier 4.