HONOLULU (KHON2) — Local bar owners got big news Thursday when Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he made a request to the governor to reopen taverns and many other businesses by June 19.
Governor Ige’s office said the emergency order was signed to allow businesses such as movie theaters, gyms, and bars to welcome back customers.
The majority of businesses on the island were forced to shut-down in late March to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Caldwell said, “It would open almost everything on the Island of Oahu, starting as early as tomorrow but most of it on the 19th of June, it even has bars in it.”
It is the type of news bar owner, Bill Comerford was hoping for, but not expecting.
“That has been my biggest complaint, I have been shut down since March 18, the last day we did sales was March 17,” Comerford said. “Since March 18, I’ve had no correspondence between anybody in the government.”
His Irish Rose Saloon is going through a deep clean, he said their closure allowed him to make several renovations at his bars.
Comerford said, “We’ve been preparing to reopen ever since we closed, as a matter of fact, the first thing we did was start to do some quick renovations, upgraded equipment, painting and cleaning everything in the bar from top to bottom.”
Bar operators are expected to follow guidelines signed off by the governor.
Part of the restrictions limit capacity to 50%, and group sizes are limited to 10 people while maintaining groups six feet apart.
The guidelines do not allow singing or dancing within the bar.
“I think it is going to be very difficult for someone to drink with a mask on,” Comerford said. “But you know, if they are sitting six feet apart from somebody, I think it’s kind of OK if they put their mask down to have a drink but the idea is to keep the social distancing.”
In the meantime, the Irish Rose Saloon is getting ready to reopen Friday as a restaurant with only two items on the menu, hot dogs and chips.