January 18, 2021

Honolulu business owners have mixed reactions over new tiered reopening plan

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – Some Honolulu business owners say the mayor’s new order is a welcome chance to reopen, even with limits. Others say it’s a big confusing hassle.



a group of people wearing costumes: Owners of Flexx Fitness Hawaii, Chris and Debbie Faildo with their son Flexx.


© Provided by Honolulu KHNL
Owners of Flexx Fitness Hawaii, Chris and Debbie Faildo with their son Flexx.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said the new framework will last until a vaccine is widely available, which could be next summer. It’s a gut punch to some business owners who are already struggling.

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“It was just devastating to hear today. Knowing that we have to put food on the table for my son here. This is a blow to us,” said Chris Faildo, owner of Flexx Fitness Hawaii.

Chris and Debbie Faildo opened Flexx Fitness Hawaii at Dole Cannery on August 15th. Twelve days later gyms were forced to close under Honolulu’s second “stay-at-home” order. Now, gyms can reopen for outdoor exercise only.

The Faildos say it’s unfair.

“This is a small gym, it’s brand new, it’s super clean, it’s really easy to control. We went over and beyond what the CDC guidelines are,” said Debbie. “We are in the business of helping each people. Helping people to be strong and confident. Exercise is essential.”

Also under the new order, restaurants can re-open at up to 50-percent capacity with no more than five people from the same household per table. Diners need to make reservations and provide their contact details in case contact tracing is necessary. Some owners fear legal issues.

“To get their personal information, we have to check their IDs. I am not comfortable with one, collecting that kind of information and then storing it and then what do we do with it? And then, the other part is, what legally can we release?” said the owner of a coffee shop.

The mayor admits the new rules may be confusing, but he said he is strategic.

“There are a lot of things open in tier one but with limitations all over the place to control the spread,” said Caldwell. “There’s some rough justice here, people may not see it as fair.”

It’s not all gloom and doom. Some restaurant managers are excited to welcome diners back in.

Emmanuel Cournede, with Operations Management at Il Lupino in Waikiki, said everything has been cleaned and sanitized.

“Obviously, we were really happy. There were rumblings that restaurants were not going to be allowed dine in for four weeks. So, we were thrilled to hear that we can get back to doing what we do,” Cournede said.

Hair and nail salons and barbershops can also reopen. Stylists say it’s been a busy afternoon of cleaning and contacting clients.

“I was surprised. I thought we were going to get extended two more weeks. Now it’s just about rushing and cleaning and setting up all over again,” said Dayna Okuma.

“Clients are like when can we come back? What day can we come back?” said Dennis Guillermo/

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