City officials today said previously announced events, including a “Dine in Chinatown” bike-and-stroll on a stretch of Hotel Street Saturday, will still proceed as planned.
An extension of “Open Street Kalakaua” events will also proceed as planned in Waikiki from 6 a.m. to noon Sundays through the end of this month.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell had earlier this week said he might “suspend” the events due to a spike in new coronavirus cases this week, which reached a peak of 41 on Tuesday.
On Saturday, the “Dine in Chinatown” event takes place from 4 to 9 p.m. on Hotel Street from River Street to Richards Street, which will be closed off to vehicular traffic and open to bicyclists and pedestrians.
“After thorough discussion, we have made the decision to proceed with both the ‘Dine in Chinatown’ one-time pilot and the ‘Open Street Kalakaua’ initiative through the end of July,” said Caldwell in a news release. “We have been advised that being outside in the open air is safer than being in an enclosed environment. Closing Hotel Street in order to allow restaurants to spill out onto the entire sidewalk in front of their restaurants will provide a much-needed boost to restaurants in the area.”
During the Chinatown event, city officials said more than a dozen restaurants along or near Hotel Street are expected to be open, with most offering either sidewalk dining or indoor/outdoor seating. Art galleries and shops will also be open.
Restaurants that open their doors must have tables that are spaced 6 feet apart, and all guests must wear face coverings until seated under the “Restore Honolulu Order.” All serving staff must wear face coverings continually, officials said, to protect guests and wait staff.
City officials also reminded those participating to wear face coverings when required, to practice physical distancing from those not in the same household, and good hand hygiene. Also, to stay home if feeling sick.
“Chinatown, with its rich history, is home to some of the best restaurants in Honolulu,” Caldwell said in a statement. “Oahu needs Chinatown, and right now, Chinatown needs Oahu.”
Police officers will assist with traffic control on Saturday, but participants should be aware that cross-traffic will not be cut off at Alakea and Bishop Streets, and that traffic signals should be used at those intersections. Bicyclists should also have lights if riding after dark.
During “Open Street Kalakaua” events, which were launched in mid-June, officials said gatherings are not allowed unless they are in pods of 10 people or less and must be moving at all times, whether it be walking, running, biking, skateboarding or using some other non-vehicular transportation.
“Our ‘Open Street Kalakaua’ allows residents of all ages to exercise in a safe manner on a wide and otherwise traffic-congested street,” said Caldwell. “For those who are exercising on Kalakaua, many are also visiting restaurants and other businesses in Waikiki in growing numbers, which is providing much needed economic assistance prior to the return of visitors to this area.”
Under the city’s most recent “Restore Honolulu Order” all people shall wear face coverings while indoors, with certain limited exceptions, and outdoors where 6 feet of physical distancing cannot be practiced and where it does not interfere with a person’s breathing during exercising.
“The only way we can continue to open up Oahu is by everyone following the same protocols; wearing face coverings, thoroughly washing your hands, often, staying six feet apart unless you are a family unit or a small pod,” said Caldwell. “The virus is still out there and spreading, and therefore you must protect yourself and others.”