Two Honolulu bars see 24-hour shutdowns, updates to COVID-19 rules expected for gyms


HONOLULU (KHON2) — Investigators were tipped-off about Cafe Gangnam and Tapas Waikiki breaking COVID-19 emergency rules through the liquor commission’s 24-hour hotline, they said the violations were enough to temporarily shut them down.

These two establishements were the first to recieve a 24-hour shutdown notice under Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency order.

Caldwell said, “They were not following the protocols at all, and I believe that most bars are, but there are some establishments, a minority, who refuse to comply but they are endangering their customers and their employees.”

The Honolulu Liquor Commission said investigators arrived at Tapas Waikiki around 11 PM on Saturday.

They said they observed overcrowding with no social distancing with many of the patrons not wearing facial coverings. The bar was closed for 24 hours shortly after with the help of the Honolulu Police.

At Cafe Gangnam, investigators said they were denied entry upon arrival resulting in a violation.

They said the establishment’s doors were locked with customers inside. Investigators also cited three violations connected to serving alcohol after midnight. Caldwell recently banned the sale of liquor after midnight at bars, a decision he said was made to prevent the spread of the virus.

Caldwell said, “So my request to bars, please follow the order that’s been entered by the City and County of Honolulu and also the State of Hawaii and keep all of us safe so we can continue to open up our economy.”

The liquor commission does not do a secondary inspection at bars that reopened 24 hours later, but they said they will keep close tabs.

Meanwhile, the mayor said he is still working with Gov. David Ige to update COVID-19 safety guidelines in gyms after two gyms on Oahu were linked to clusters of cases.

“Our goal is to allow gyms to remain open and allow them to exercise. Exercise is a healthy thing to do,” Caldwell said. “But if you are not wearing a face-covering in a gym and you’re breathing hard you can transmit this virus and you saw that occur.”

The mayor has yet to announce the proposed changes at gyms, but so far a request to the governor’s office was denied.

The State Attorney General’s office said they review all the amendments to all of the counties’ emergency proclamations, but they are not able to share the advice given to Caldwell regarding his proposed changes at gyms.

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