Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell announced today that he will ask Gov. David Ige to allow personal service businesses — such as hair salons, barber shops and tattoo parlors — to resume this Friday.
In addition, if approved by the governor, he expects to open up outdoor operations Friday, including venues like Honolulu Zoo, Sea Life Park, Kualoa Ranch, and water parks, with proper modifications in place.
With the state Health Department recording no new coronavirus cases for three days in a row today, as well as numerous days with zero to a few new cases on Oahu, Caldwell said he felt confident he could move forward with further phases of reopening Honolulu’s economy.
Caldwell thanked the residents of the City and County of Honolulu at a press conference this afternoon for doing their part to help flatten the curve — through physical distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
“If it wasn’t for you we couldn’t start to thaw out our community and open up our economy,” he said.
Caldwell also said he would seek to allow outdoor gatherings of 10 or fewer individuals that are not from the same household on Friday. That would include gatherings at the beach, which are currently limited to 10 from the same household or family, as well as for groups visiting dog parks.
Caldwell said he would send his amended order with these new guidelines to the governor today, and that he hoped to hear back from him within 24 hours.
Later in the week, Caldwell said he would also request that Ige approve the reopening of offices next Friday, June 5, the same day that restaurants will be allowed to reopen for dine-in services.
The downtown restaurants need downtown offices opening up as well as around the island, he said, with required modifications.
He will also seek approval of indoor gatherings of 10 or fewer individuals at residences, as well as non-commercial settings like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or at a church and other functions, as long as physical distancing of six feet apart is practiced, along with face coverings, where possible.
Caldwell will also ask that indoor operations, including theaters, museums, and gyms be able to open up on June 19, with modifications.
“This administration’s goal every step of the way is to put public health and safety foremost,” said Caldwell.
The reopening of bars and nightclubs, as well as large sporting events, however, has yet to be discussed, he said.
As for tourism, he would like to see a gradual reopening to interisland travel for Oahu, without the mandatory, 14-day quarantine, possibly some time in the first few weeks of June, he said, as long as cases remain at zero to three per day.
Other possibilities to opening up tourism include forming a “travel bubble” with Australia and New Zealand, or South Korea and Japan, where the number of coronavirus cases are very low.
Caldwell said he felt pride while visiting Punchbowl on Memorial Day, and realizing what a unique and special place the island of Oahu was, in the midst of a special country, where more than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
“I wanted to thank you all,” he said, “and I want you to realize that we can get through this, and that by continuing to work together as we go through these opening ups, and as we continue to wear our face coverings, and practice good physical distancing and go through challenges we don’t even know about yet, we can get to an even better place than we were.”
Caldwell also announced today the launch of a pro bono mental health project that will provide services for those who are dealing with challenges related to the coronavirus.
The effort, headed up by Dr. Lawrie Ignacio and Dr. Graham Taylor, will offer help from community psychologists and other therapy and counseling professionals, free of charge, for those struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.
Those seeking the services — to be provided by phone and online only — will sign up through a confidential questionnaire, then wait for a coordinator to connect them with a provider within about 48 to 72 hours.
More information on the project will be available at the Hawai‘i Psychological Association’s website at hawaiipsychology.org.
Watch the news conference above.