Honolulu mayor moves forward with outdoor events in Chinatown and Waikiki

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Streets in Honolulu’s Chinatown will be closed-off as the city hosts the first “Dine in Chinatown” event, a pilot project that aims to boost business in the area.

The president of the Chinatown Business and Community Association, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, said she is concerned over the event with the rise in COVID-19 cases. She said the evening time slot from 4 PM to 9 PM is also worrisome due to criminal activity in the area.

“We have all of these big problems in Chinatown,” Shubert-Kwock said. “Purse snatching, so many homeless and panhandling, there’s violent mentally ill people. Do you think that image is going to disappear just because you open Hotel St.? No!” 

The pilot project is scheduled for Saturday, July 11, it will close down Hotel Street from River Street to Richards Street for driving, people are encouraged to walk and bike.

Shubert-Kwock believes it is a good idea to draw attention to Chinatown, but she would rather see an event during the daytime since many shops close down early.

She said, “If it was a special event, for like produce or promote Chinatown produce or fruits on certain Sundays in the morning.”

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said they had thorough discussions on plans for the events, but he decided to move forward with them to help out the local shops.

Caldwell said, “Closing Hotel Street in order to allow restaurants to spill out onto the entire sidewalk in front of their restaurants will provide a much needed boost to restaurants in the area.”

Although coronavirus continues to be a concern for locals.

Sundays in July will continue to host “Open Street Kalakaua” from 6 AM to the afternoon in Waikiki. Officials advise keeping groups to ten people maximum and they must be moving at all times. The mayor’s face-covering mandate also requires to wear a mask outdoors if social distancing is not possible.

But for some like Shubert-Kwock, the timing does not feel right.

Shubert-Kwock said, “People are just rushing to get what they need and leave because who wants to socialize in this situation? When you have a couple of days with double digits and high ones.”

The City and County of Honolulu have COVID-19 resources and guidelines available online for Oahu residents.

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