Oahu malls reopen with new, safer experience, as state restrictions are slowly lifted

HONOLULU, HI — For the first time in two months, malls on Oahu reopened this past Friday as local leaders focus on rebooting Hawaii’s economy.

But going shopping amidst the pandemic comes with a completely different experience.

“I’m really happy that they are reopening some of the shops, you know, at least to start with. As long as they do the things they’re supposed to do. They wear the mask, you know, they get the sanitizer every time they touch something or, you know, the door open. I think it’s going to be okay. I think it’s going to be okay to start now,” said Edith Doctolero.

All establishments are required to comply with specific operation guidelines including wearing face masks, physical/social distancing and health and safety standards. Shoppers are being asked to also follow similar precautions.

Stores are required to keep the occupancy limited, as only one person for every 1200 square feet is allowed inside.

People who shopped this weekend experienced the result of this rule as they stood in line, waiting to enter a store.

While malls have been reopened, only about a quarter of Ala Moana Shopping Center’s stores are open, while the rest remain locked up.

“It’s a huge adjustment, obviously. It’s been a slow process in getting consumers back in, uh, you know, again, it’s not the way it was before. So it’s baby steps right now. It’s small steps in acclimating to this new environment, and then think different as to knowing that there’s social distancing, other protocols evolved,” said Sherry Menor-McNamara, Chamber of Commerce Hawaii.

Although Oahu’s stay-at-home order has recently been extended to June 30, Honolulu mayor Kirk Caldwell is hoping to open some restaurants soon as the next step in his ‘Restore Honolulu Order.’

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