Tier 4 to increase capacity at restaurants but more workers are needed to meet demand

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The second four-week pause of Honolulu’s tier system ends Wednesday.

Mayor Rick Blangiardi sent a request to the governor to move into Tier Four, and a decision on that is expected to be announced this week.

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Mayor Rick Blangiardi’s request to move up a tier, comes right at the time when more people feel comfortable gathering and doing social activities like getting together to watch a movie.

The Consolidated Theatres Marketing Manager Kyler Kokubun said they are looking forward to allow parties of up to 25 people once the county moves into the fourth and final tier of its reopening strategy.

“There’s definitely a correlation between people getting vaccinated, and then the community just being a little bit more comfortable,” Kokubun said. “Towards the end of March, it really started picking up from there.” 

The full details surrounding Tier Four are yet to be released by the Blangiardi’s office. Although, his office said with more than 55% of the population fully vaccinated and with hospitalizations and acute care down, they are moving forward on the road to recovery.

Although the challenge many businesses are now facing is the lack of workers.

“Ever since we reopened, we’re picking up guests,” Kokubun said. “We definitely need more staff and definitely we encourage everyone to apply and pick up a job.” 

Restaurants are also struggling to find enough staffing.

The Ruby Tuesday Hawaii owner Rick Nakashima is already looking ahead to when full capacity would be allowed. He said they are not near the staffing levels that would be needed.

“I would say we need at least 30 per restaurant,” Nakashima said. “Gosh! That’s a couple hundred people, we could use a lot of people.”

Meanwhile, Restaurateur Kevin Aoki said he is turning to technology to give his staff a hand amid the worker shortage.

“At some of our quick service operations like, Blue Tree and Qing Mu, we are planning to install a little kiosk outside so that they can order,” Aoki said. “They can order instead of waiting in line.”

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