Shopping malls and other retailers are set to begin opening Friday on Oahu, and while shop owners work towards reopening, the lieutenant governor said the state is more than ready for this phase.
To prepare for May 15, the family-owned clothing store Global Village in Kailua is spacing out its sales floor for social distancing among other changes.
The shop’s part-owner, Debbie Hopkins, said they are placing hand santizer through the store for customers and employees.
Hopkins said, “We also put in floor stickers, door stickers, we are putting up signs all over the store in order to remind people to be mindful of others and be respectful of everybody’s space.”
Hopkin’s sister and also part-owner, Dawn Ravelo, said they are contacting their employees and sharing with them the new store guidelines.
Ravelo said, “We did a Zoom meet with them on Monday because once we found out we were able to officially open, we kind of just wanted to assure them that we are doing everything we can to keep this a safe environment.”
Although, they continue to encourage shopping on their store’s website and pick-up at the curb.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green said with changes like these, retailers are more than ready to handle reopening.
“I think we have to trust people because if we don’t trust them now, what are we going to do?” Green said. “We can’t go on forever without an economy, people are suffering very greatly it was a mistake to delay the last four to five days honestly because we keep having to pass out unemployment checks and people are very hurt.”
Green said the drop in new COVID-19 cases and preparedness at hospitals allow for this phase of reopening, and he is looking ahead.
Green said, “I think it’s reasonable after Memorial Day weekend if things have stayed this good, to open up hairdressers and hopefully restaurants and maybe gyms provided that we socially distance people.”
Shops like T&C Surf Designs are also preparing to reopen on Friday. The company’s vice president, Ryan Sugihara, said they kept on their full-time staffers through the closure, and they are hoping to bring back part-timers at some point.
Sugihara said, “It’s just figuring out what’s going to happen, you know, we don’t really know how busy or slow it’s going to be, it’s survival what we’re going to do.”
He said it’s difficult to predict the amount of foot traffic on Friday, although they will also limit the number of customers inside their shops and close down fitting rooms to the public.
Sugihara said, “We are asking employees and customers if you are sick, stay at home, we just want to create a safe environment for our staff and our customers.”
The Pearlridge Center General Manager, David Cianello, said opening under a pandemic means having to increase surveillance to make sure safety rules are being followed.
“For the safety of our guests we have to take this issue very seriously,” Cianello said. “We are beefing up our security presence throughout the center and we are making sure that our tenants are working in partnership with us to report anything that goes against our safety measures.”
The Kahala Mall, Ala Moana Center and Royal Hawaiian Center are also set to open Friday.