Several of Oahu’s shopping malls and retail centers are getting ready to reopen Friday as part of the first phase in reopening the state’s economy, but with new guidelines in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Gov. David Ige earlier this month authorized shopping malls and retailers on Oahu to reopen Friday, a week later than most neighbor isles, as long as proper social distancing measures are put in place. Malls had been shuttered since late March as part of an effort to “flatten the curve” and stop the spread of the virus.
On Monday, Pearlridge Center in Aiea announced it would reopen Friday, with special hours and a new set of rules.
The center will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Seating will not be available at the center’s food halls, however, they will continue to offer takeout only. The seating in common areas also will remain closed, and the center’s new “code of conduct” will advise guests to practice social distancing and use cloth face covers.
“It’s just really important for people to remember that although we’re slowly starting to reopen, there’s still a need to practice that social distancing and take that safety measure whenever we go out to public places,” said Pearlridge spokeswoman Diana Su. “In looking around the world, and what’s still happening as we speak, it’s a reminder that even though our curve is somewhat flattening, we need to stay vigilant.”
On Tuesday, Ala Moana Center and Kahala Mall also confirmed they would reopen for business Friday. Windward Mall did not make any new announcements by press time Tuesday.
Ala Moana Center also will be open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The center said it has added hand-sanitizing stations, touch-free interactions and frequent, intense cleanings. Signs will advise customers and employees that face coverings are required. The food court dining areas also will remain closed, except for delivery and takeout.
“The safety and well-being of our retail partners and shoppers is of the utmost importance.,” said Ala Moana Center in a statement. “We are thankful for the opportunity to reopen our doors and look forward to welcoming guests back into our property. We appreciate the continued support from the community and are eager to once again serve as a place where people can shop and work in a safe and controlled way.”
Kahala Mall General Manager Ezy Paeste said nearly 25% of the mall’s merchants, such as Longs Drugs and Whole Foods Market, are considered essential businesses and have remained open. More merchants plan to reopen Friday.
In March, Paeste said, the mall implemented enhanced safety protocols and trained staff on cleaning, disinfection and prevention standards established by the Centers for Disease Control.
“Our main priority is the health, safety and well-being of our community, customers and employees of Kahala Mall and its merchants,” said Paeste in a statement.
Retail analyst Stephany Sofos said reopening is likely to be a long process, not a quick bounce back.
“People are still nervous about having interactions with other people, and you have to have a mask and you still have to social-distance,” she said. “It’s a whole new game.”
Many retailers make their money on volume, she said, but bringing that back to the same level will take time.
“I think it’s just going to be a really long process,” she said. “Pandemics historically have come in waves. They go and then they come back … until there’s a definite vaccine.”
Many consumers right now are uncertain about the future, and watching their dollars, she said. At the same time, Hawaii residents love to shop and eat out, and there has been pent-up demand during stay-at-home orders.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” she said. “We have to make sure everyone is diligent so we don’t have a second wave.”
In an unscientific Honolulu Star-Advertiser poll conducted earlier this month, asking readers whether they were eager to go shopping, approximately 63% said no and that they did not want to risk being in crowds. Another 25% were “so-so” about it, and about 10.5% said yes, they wanted to shop.
ROYAL HAWAIIAN CENTER
In Waikiki, Royal Hawaiian Center also will reopen Friday, along with retail tenants at the International Market Place.
At Royal Hawaiian Center, signs will remind guests to wear facial masks and practice social distancing. The center’s complimentary cultural classes and live entertainment, however, will remain on hiatus.
Retailers Tiffany & Co. and Salvatore Ferragamo will open their doors at Royal Hawaiian Center on Friday. Hermes will open by appointment only. From Friday to July 31, the center is offering guests three hours of free, validated parking with any purchase, no minimum required.
INTERNATIONAL MARKET PLACE
The International Market Place will keep its center court and grassy lawn areas closed and turn off drinking fountains, as well as offer hand sanitizer at designated stations.
Although malls and retail centers may be reopening, the schedule of individual tenants will vary. Anchor stores like , for instance, remained closed as of Tuesday, with no updates posted on voicemail or online of an imminent reopening.
Oahu malls, retail centers, reopening Friday*
>> Pearlridge Center, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit pearlridgeonline.com.
>> Ala Moana Center, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit alamoanacenter.com.
>> Kahala Mall, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Visit kahalamallcenter.com.
>> Royal Hawaiian Center, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. Visit royalhawaiiancenter.com.
>> International Market Place, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Visit shopinternationalmarketplace.com.
* Individual store and restaurant hours at each center might vary.