Businesses were able to serve more people as Honolulu moved into Tier 3 of its reopening plan.
“This weekend we’re fully booked already for larger parties,” The Pig & the Lady manager Alex Le said.
He was happy to not have to split up groups over five during the Thursday lunch rush.
Up the street at Fete Hawaii, owner Chuck Bussler took calls adjusting reservations for customers to increase the number of people in the parties.
“I’ve had three or four phone calls like that already,” he said.
Under Tier 3, restaurants can operate at full capacity, maintaining 6-foot distancing, and can seat groups of up to 10 people.
However, Encore Salon manager Danny Kaaialii didn’t think the less restrictive rules would change the restaurant’s situation very much.
“I don’t think it’s necessarily gonna just open the floodgates and everybody’s gonna go out,” he said.
“We can have bigger parties, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we can fit more people in our restaurant, because every table has to be socially distanced.”
He said Thursday’s lunch rush was “relatively mellow.” Kaaialii attributed it to people working from home, resulting in fewer people getting lunch downtown.
However, he thought having tables with more people would be a relief to staff members, who in Tier 2 would have to make sure parties over five stayed split up after being seated.
“We’re not having to police people,” Kaaialii said. “We would take larger groups, but we would have to separate them and socially distance them, and then ask them to not to commingle.”
The Hub Coworking Hawaii, a coworking space in Kakaako, prepared to bring back more members for masked social gatherings of up to 10 people — adhering to the new Tier 3 guidelines.
“The hardest thing for us to do is to build community,” Hub owner George Yarbrough said.
The Hub had to stop networking events and special lunches like pizza Wednesdays to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.
Yarbrough hoped that with the loosened restrictions, more people would be able to come back together to continue to build a sense of community in the coworking space — especially since many people have recently relocated to Hawaii for remote work.
“They’re so thankful that they’re able to come in and still have conversations with people,” he said.
Gyms were also able to increase to 50% capacity and have group fitness classes of up to 10 people, including the instructor.
Nick Ordenstein, a gym member at the Kaneohe 24 Hour fitness, said he felt comfortable continuing to work out at the facility even with a potential increase in people.
“There’s probably going to be more people that go just because we’re opening up more and the cases are going down,” he said. “Personally, I don’t really mind. Everyone’s been doing a really good job of wiping down their equipment and, like, taking care of the safety requirements.”
He said everyone wears a mask and that the gym monitors the number of people it allows in.
UFC Gym’s Hawaii director of marketing, Darlene Kaku, already noticed an increase in people coming to work out at the Mililani location.
“I can definitely see just from walking through the gym through the day that there are more people coming in,” she said. “It’s a good sign.”
Oahu’s seven-day average daily new cases are at 25, and its seven-day average positivity rate is at 1%.
To move to Tier 4, the seven-day average new case count would have to remain below 20, and the island’s seven-day positivity rate would need to stay under 1% for two weeks.
State Department of Health officials Thursday reported 45 new coronavirus infections, bringing the state’s total since the start of the pandemic to 27,358 cases.
There were no new coronavirus-related deaths as the statewide death toll remained at 435.
Thursday’s total included 24 on Oahu, 18 on Maui, one on the Big Island and two residents diagnosed outside of Hawaii, officials said.
The statistics released Thursday reflect the new infection cases reported to the department Tuesday.