Here’s Which Honolulu Businesses Could Be Opening Soon

Mayor Kirk Caldwell says some places on Oʻahu could be back in business as early as next week.
Royal Hawaiian Golf Course Kailua
Royal Hawaiian Golf Course in Kailua.
Photo: Courtesy of Hawai‘i Tee Times


While the state government is adhering to national guidelines for reopening and the city just extended the stay-at-home order until May 31, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today that some businesses could reopen as soon as next week.


This Saturday at 5 a.m., city parks will let people back in for exercise, with botanical gardens opening on May 1. The city is also considering opening golf courses May 1, with car dealerships and real estate businesses following suit. Other activities considered low risk will be allowed to resume—such as automated car washes and visiting gravesites—as long as the total number of new cases in the county remains low and everyone continues wearing masks and keeping their distance.


O‘ahu has seen just four new cases so far this week. “We’re looking at this every single day,” Caldwell says, noting that there are modifications, such as making open house visits by appointment only, that could allow a business to reopen.


The next category of business that the city considers slightly higher risk includes retail stores, pet grooming, offices and open-air malls that can regulate the number of people in any given area.


Once those are back in business, if cases still remain under control—which Caldwell says relies heavily on “aggressive, pragmatic testing” as well as contact tracing—some restaurants, beauty salons, gyms and religious gatherings outside the place of worship can go ahead, but again with safety measures and modifications in place, such as placing tables farther apart in a restaurant.


The last category, considered high risk because of the crowds involved, includes bars, concerts, sporting events, marathons and unrestricted religious gatherings.


“We believe that aggressive, rapid testing is critical to opening up,” Caldwell says. When that can happen is still in question. The city had planned to purchase thousands of test kits that provide results in 48 hours and distribute them to all seven community health centers on the island. But, that contract has been put on hold after the state Department of Health raised concerns over the tests’ validity.