Businesses like retail stores have been given the green light to re-open under certain guidelines. But there are some still closed. One retail expert tells us many stores are dependent directly on tourism. So if there are no tourists, they don’t have a customer base to open to.
“Others tried to open for a little while and found that the customer base isn’t there, so they closed up again or they have really shortened hours,” said Tina Yamaki of Retail Merchants of Hawaii.
She’s heard some places made nothing on the day they re-opened.
“So it’s just not affordable for them to stay open or be open and we are seeing that especially in the resort areas,” she said.
Yamaki says there are businesses that haven’t been able to pay rent, taxes, or other operational costs.
“So they are sitting there and trying to figure out can they afford to re-open because now with all this added PPE you need, whether it’s hand sanitizers or sneeze-guards, it adds on to the cost of doing businesses,” said Yamaki.
For others, the struggle has led them to file for bankruptcy.
“I just filed a couple of bankruptcies on Friday for a jewelry store in Waikiki,” said Bankruptcy Attorney Greg Dunn. “They were running pretty tight and when the COVID-19 pandemic happened they just couldn’t handle it.”
Dunn says he’s filed at least 50 bankruptcy cases if not more since March. The majority of them are related to the Coronavirus. And it’s not just business owners filing but also individuals who have lost their jobs or their hours have been cut.
“I’m getting all these phone calls. We are seeing a lot of people. We are very busy right now,” he said. “I’m sad for these people that have to go out of business, but bankruptcy gives them the relief to get out of debt so they can start fresh.”