Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell on Tuesday announced plans to seek the governor’s approval to allow personal services — such as hair salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors — to resume Friday.
In addition, if approved by Gov. David Ige, he would allow outdoor attractions such as the Honolulu Zoo, Sea Life Park and Kualoa Ranch to reopen as soon as Thursday, with proper modifications in place.
Caldwell also said he would seek to allow outdoor gatherings of 10 or fewer individuals who are not from the same household. That would include gatherings at dog parks.
Caldwell planned to send his amended order to the governor and hoped to hear back within 24 hours.
With the state Health Department recording no new coronavirus cases for three days in a row on Tuesday, as well as numerous days with zero to just a few new cases on Oahu, Caldwell said he felt confident he could move forward with further phases of reopening Honolulu’s economy.
He thanked Oahu residents 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 Tuesday afternoon at a news conference at Honolulu Hale.
Sea Life Park was pleased to hear the news but has no definitive opening date yet.
“Our highest priority remains the health and safety of all of our Guests and Team Members,” said Sea Life Park in a statement. “We are preparing protocols and procedures to address social distancing, limiting capacities, disinfection, hand sanitizations, and other health and safety factors. We will continue to closely follow the guidelines of our local, state and federal government officials and health experts as we prepare to resume operations.”
Though it is allowed to open sooner, the zoo is targeting a reopening date of June 5.
Caldwell said that later this week he will seek approval to reopen offices on June 5, as well, in tandem with restaurants reopening for dine-in services. The downtown restaurants need downtown offices to open up, he said.
He also will seek approval of indoor gatherings of 10 or fewer individuals at residences, as well as noncommercial settings like Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at a church, for instance, as long as physical distancing of 6 feet apart is practiced, along with face coverings, where possible.
Caldwell also will ask that indoor operations, including theaters, museums and gyms, be able to open up on June 19, with required modifications.
The reopening of bars and nightclubs, as well as large sporting events, however, has yet to be discussed, he said.
“This administration’s goal every step of the way is to put public health and safety foremost,” Caldwell said.
As for tourism, he would like to see a gradual reopening to interisland travel for Oahu, without the mandatory, 14-day quarantine, possibly sometime in the first few weeks of June, he said, as long as cases remain at zero to three per day.
Other possibilities to open up tourism include forming a “travel bubble” with Australia and New Zealand, he said, or South Korea and Japan, where the number of coronavirus cases is low.
Caldwell said he felt pride on a visit to the National Memorial Center of the Pacific at Punchbowl on Memorial Day, and realized what a unique place Oahu is, in the midst of a special country, where more than 100,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.
“Our numbers are what they are because the people of this place took it to heart and did everything they were asked and more,” said Caldwell, acknowledging sacrifices people have made. “I wanted to thank you all, 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 Tuesday the launch of the Hawai‘i Mental Health Pro Bono COVID-19 project, which will provide free serv-ices for those who are dealing with coronavirus-related challenges.
The effort, conceptualized by clinical psychologists Lawrie Ignacio and Graham Taylor, will offer help from community psychologists, therapists and counselors for those without health insurance who are struggling during the COVID-19 crisis.
Those seeking services — to be provided online by telehealth platforms 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 is available at the Hawai‘i Psychological Association’s website at hawaiipsychology.org.
PROPOSED REOPENING SCHEDULE
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s proposed timetable for reopening:
>> Outdoor operations such as the Honolulu Zoo, Sea Life Park, Kualoa Ranch and water parks
>> Personal service businesses, including hair salons, barbers, nail technicians, tattoo artists
>> Allow outdoor gatherings of 10 or fewer individuals not from the same household
>> Business and commercial offices, and restaurants for dine-in services
>> Allow indoor gatherings of 10 or fewer individuals not from the same household
>> Indoor operations, such as movie theaters, museums and gyms
Source: City and County of Honolulu