Our Separate Reality: Snapshots of Honolulu’s New Normal During Quarantine

In cities and countries around the globe, we switched to a life of social distancing, staying home and adjusting to a new world of work (or lack thereof). A week after the city and state ordered us to shelter in place, O‘ahu was almost unrecognizable.

A Desk with a View

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Working from home can have its perks. HONOLULU Magazine staff photographer Aaron K. Yoshino has made the most out of it (and his lānai).



The New Norm. #honolulu #hawaii #hinewnormal

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The Forbidden Paradise

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O‘ahu’s beaches have become secluded gems that are largely free from crowds and trash as residents respect restrictions on outdoor activities.


SEE ALSO: Aloha for the ‘Āina: A Curated Collection by Our Photographers In Honor of Earth Month


Currently Experiencing Seated Wait Times

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An order to shut down dine-in service in Honolulu through the end of April has changed the dining game. Hibachi Grill in Kaka‘ako’s Keauhou Lane is one of the many to arrange outdoor waiting areas for takeout customers with spaced out seats.



Grub to Grab

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Courtesy of Hawai‘i State Department of Education


When some students rely on school meals, and school is then canceled, pandemic panic can take over. But dozens of public schools on O‘ahu continued to serve grab-and-go lunch boxes during the extended spring break period.



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Do Not Cross

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The Duke encouraged fellow Waikīkī dwellers to observe the new social distancing rules. Across the island, residents quickly had to adjust to being 6 feet apart when outside their homes.



Lines May Appear Longer

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Courtesy of Tiarae Ho‘ohuli Grace Kelly


Photos like this consistently showed up on social media: Costco members keeping their distance in the parking lot, forming long lines before the doors open.


SEE ALSO: Life Interrupted: Tips and Advice From Five Local Psychologists and Mental Health Experts


Hotel with Heart

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 Courtesy of Derek Lin


Despite challenging times, the Sheraton Waikīkī was all heart. Sheraton front desk manager Derek Lin and his girlfriend, Jacelyn Chang, spearheaded the idea to ignite lights in 64 rooms on 12 floors as a sign of solidarity.



Tour de Solo

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The government allowed people to go outside for a few reasons, including exercise. This bike rider took advantage of Waikīkī’s empty streets and turned Kalākaua Avenue into his personal training track.



Rush Hour Z

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The typically chockablock lanes on the H-1 were nearly deserted on March 23, just hours before Honolulu’s shelter-in-place order took effect. That’s when Thomas Obungen, from our sister publication Frolic, snapped this photo.



Bumper to Bumper Cars

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There is officially no room at the stadium. As visitor arrivals plummeted, rental cars had no use. HONOLULU’s chief photographer, David Croxford, captured them expertly parked at Aloha Stadium’s parking lot.



Space to Spread Your Wings

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Amid the worldwide pandemic, Hawai‘i’s abundant bird population ruled the empty streets and beaches of Honolulu.



a helping hand

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Courtesy of @ChefHuihi and @AlohaHarvest


You couldn’t keep these volunteers off the streets. Chef Hui and the Aloha Harvest teams rescued excess food from restaurants to deliver to nonprofits that feed people in need.



We will continue to share snaps of what our new (or temporary—whichever you prefer) normal looks like here on O‘ahu. Share your new normal with us via #HINewNormal for a chance to be featured.


Read more stories by Katie Kenny