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Oahu restaurants start welcoming customers back as dine-in restriction is lifted

  • BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                Cassidy Essex cleans a seating area at Scratch Kitchen in the South Shore Market today.

    BRUCE ASATO / BASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM

    Cassidy Essex cleans a seating area at Scratch Kitchen in the South Shore Market today.

  • DAVE REARDON /DREARDON@STARADVERTISER.COM
                                David and Ann Snakenberg (seated) were welcomed by employees at Cafe Kaila at the Market City shopping center, which reopened today in Kaimuki after the City and County of Honolulu lifted its coronavirus emergency order restriction closing dine-in restaurants.

    DAVE REARDON /DREARDON@STARADVERTISER.COM

    David and Ann Snakenberg (seated) were welcomed by employees at Cafe Kaila at the Market City shopping center, which reopened today in Kaimuki after the City and County of Honolulu lifted its coronavirus emergency order restriction closing dine-in restaurants.

On the day Honolulu restaurants are allowed to reopen for seated dining, Mayor Kirk Caldwell said restaurants can apply to set up tables on city sidewalks adjacent to their eateries.

Caldwell made the announcement today at The Surfing Pig on Waialae Avenue. standing where the restaurant has set up two two-seat tables customers can use starting today. The Surfing Pig is the first restaurant to apply for and be granted approval for such seating.

Surfing Pig owner Stan Glander said he isn’t sure the addition of four seats will offset indoor seating reduced 50 percent due to social distancing restrictions enough for his restaurant to survive financially, but that it helps. And Glander said getting approval was easy.

“We were able to do this in literally a couple of days,” he said.

Caldwell said it is a pilot program that will be in place for at least as long as city and county restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are in place.

“The other part of this is we want to be outside,” Caldwell said. “We have perfect weather.”

>> PHOTO GALLERY: Oahu restaurants reopen for dine-in customers

Earlier today, Cafe Kaila at the Market City shopping center in Kaimuki was among the first restaurants to serve dine-in customers on Oahu after the 2 1/2-month shutdown was lifted today.

Cafe Kaila regulars David and Ann Snakenberg were the first in line and to be seated when the popular eatery known for its brunch items opened its doors a little after 7 a.m. today.

More customers gradually arrived and were seated.

The Snakenbergs had been supporting Cafe Kaila as takeout customers during the shutdown, and were happy to be the first in-restaurant diners today.

“It really is like family here, like ‘Cheers’,” said David Snakenberg, an Air Force retiree, who chatted (through masks) with each employee who came by to say hello.

Tables were separated by at least 6 feet, as per official guidelines. Servers wore face masks and shields, and provided hand sanitation gel after diners finished their meals. Condiments were provided on request, rather than being left on tables.

“It’s awesome to be back,” said server Wayne Kato of Makiki, who has been with the restaurant 10 years, and had “Hi, my name is Wayne” written on his face shield. “It’s great to see the customers and my co-workers again.”

The employees gave the restaurant a very “deep cleaning” and employees met this week to go over safety guidelines for themselves and their customers, Kato said.

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