Kailua, the normally bustling little Winward town, has been more quiet than usual in the last few months with the decline in tourists due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The regular tourists, on rented bikes, strolling through the unique boutiques and small shops, seem like a distant memory as shopkeepers try to maintain sales through online selling methods and kama’aina discounts. Cornerstone restaurants that would fill Kailua with fun lively music have since quieted down and turned to takeout only.
While it feels like this pandemic may never end, Kailua has started to open up again, regaining its temporarily lost livelihood. More than a dozen boutiques along with an array of restaurants and coffee shops have begun opening their doors for the first time in over 2 months.
June 5th marks the official opening for restaurants in Oahu and restaurants must come up with creative ideas on how to seat customers, all while following social distancing requirements. The official rules call for seating to be 6ft apart, cutting most restaurant capacities in half. This can be overcome as restaurants have turned to outdoor seating, advocating for as many tables as they can get. Reardon from the Star Advertiser quotes a representative from the Department of Planning and Permitting saying “The city is considering … temporarily allowing restaurants to extend their dining area onto city property as part of a COVID-19 recovery plan, as long as certain restrictions are followed. This program is still under review.” This would allow for restaurants to seat customers on the sidewalk outside the store in order to improve sales during this time. Restaurants have also been advocating a vision of implementing one way streets in front of restaurants to create the outdoor cafe style eateries you see in Europe.
Boutiques have begun opening up with proper social distancing measures in place and small shops will begin operating business with a new 'usual'. We will keep you updated with new hours and restaurants that have updated their dine in options!