The New Normal: Car washes adapt to keep staff and drivers safe during pandemic


HONOLULU (KHON2) — As we all know many of the things we do on a daily basis have changed due to the pandemic.

From how we work, to how we eat, and even how we clean.

This is how a popular car wash is adapting to the new normal to go above and beyond to keep customers safe.

As we all know many of the things we do on a daily basis have changed due to the pandemic.

As we continue to look at and adjust to the new normal we head to a place that always seems to be busy but has also changed

Take a drive past McKinley Car Wash on Kapiolani Boulevard, and it seems there’s always a line up of cars. But like most every other non essential business, things came to a screeching halt in March.

They reopened little more than month ago, and took it slow at first.

“We were not actually doing any vacuuming services,” said Kurt Yoshikawa, McKinley Car Wash. “We closed all that off. It was just strictly exterior car wash. Everybody stayed in their cars. We were running the transaction for everybody that was able to stay in their car. All my guys are just working on the outside.”

In the weeks since, he says they’ve been able to expand their services with a premium on safety.

“We’re doing temperature checks every morning before everybody starts their shift just to make sure as a precaution,” said Yoshikawa. “Just trying to follow the rules just as much as possible to keep everybody comfortable.”

“If they do want to vacuum after every car is finished, we’re disinfecting all the vacuum hoses that touch other peoples cars with quick disinfectant,” said Yoshikawa. “We keep the line moving,”

If you still prefer to keep the inside of your vehicle off limits?

You can do that too.

It’s one of the options you do have if you don’t want anybody in your car.

You drive your own car through the car wash. They wipe it down, and you’re gone.

Yoshikawa says they see customers everyday who choose to stay in their car and choose exterior cleaning only. He guesses that number is about 15 percent.

“The majority of people I think are itching to get back to the routine,” said Yoshikawa. “Part of our services, we do offer interior cleaning with the vacuum. So a lot of people want that car vacuumed especially with everybody heading to the beach. Now we got a lot of sand and all that kind of stuff.”

For now Yoshikawa says he’s just happy to be busy in this new normal.

“But I’m crossing my fingers it may be next year,” said Yoshikawa. “So I’m talking to you next year hopefully everything, everything will be back to the way things used to be prior to all this.”


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