Some Hawaii businesses affected more than others by new emergency order


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Businesses said they are doing what they can to keep moving forward, despite a new set of restrictions to social gatherings and capacity limits at restaurants announced by Gov. David Ige on Tuesday, Aug. 10.

It is a race to get event plans submitted, Gov. Ige said professional events larger than 50 guests need mitigation plans approved by the counties.

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The Best Hawaii Wedding owner Julie Aragaki said she is calling brides and grooms to inform them of the latest guidelines for professional events. Aragaki is hopeful the City will approve wedding mitigation plans quickly, as she had events scheduled just one day after the announcement.

Aragaki said, “All of these people who have been planning for months and months, to just kind of execute or approve the mitigation within 24 hours, hopefully, possibly.”

The Hawaii Convention Center will also require events larger than 50 people to submit a mitigation plan to the City.

Each county requires its own mitigation plan with different requirements; Kauai County will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for professional events with 40 quests indoors and 100 guests outdoors.

A Maui County spokesperson said events are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

Restaurants statewide are back to 50% capacity and limiting seating to 10 people indoors and 25 for outdoors.

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Waikiki Brewing Company brewmaster Joe Lorenzen said restrictions on restaurants will not impact much of his business operation.

Lorenzen said, “We haven’t been doing large reservations or large parties or events of our own, we kind of have been keeping to the social distancing and you know and keep us as safe as we can.”

The hardest hit is nightclubs; Scarlet Honolulu closed its doors until further notice. The owner, Robbie Baldwin, said it is nearly impossible for them to operate with guests unable to dance, intermingle or leave their seats.

Baldwin is calling for the City and State to revert to allow businesses to continue to operate at full capacity if everyone inside shows proof of vaccination.

“The vaccine exemptions, I think it was a great policy, I think it worked,” Baldwin said. “I think all the LGBT bars adopted it and it was going great.”

The latest order remains in effect until October 18, Baldwin is optimistic they will reopen.

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