Weekend Fun in Hawaii
The City and County of Honolulu is reminding the public that on Saturday, July 11, a portion of Hotel Street will be closed off to vehicular traffic for “Dine in Chinatown” and a portion of Kalākaua will be closed each Sunday for the month of July from 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. for “Open Street Kalākaua.” This all spells weekend fun in Hawaii for all.
Hotel Street from River Street to Richards Street will be closed to vehicles – but wide open for walking and biking – from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Honolulu Police Department officers will be posted to assist with traffic control. While people walking and biking will be able to cruise through most Hotel Street intersections, cross-traffic will not be cut-off at Alakea and Bishop Streets. Pedestrians and bicyclists will have to use the existing traffic signals at those intersections. Bicyclists are reminded that their bikes should have lights if they plan on riding after dark.
The City and County of Honolulu also recently announced an extension of Open Street Kalākaua initiative into the month of July.
“After thorough discussion we have made the decision to proceed with both the ‘Dine in Chinatown’ one time pilot and the ‘Open Street Kalākaua’ initiative through the end of July,” said Mayor Caldwell. “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.”
Under the City’s Restore Honolulu Order tables at restaurants must be spaced six feed apart and all guests must wear face coverings until seated. In addition, all serving staff must wear face coverings continually, to protect both guests, and wait staff. “Chinatown, with its rich history, is home to some of the best restaurants in Honolulu. O‘ahu needs Chinatown, and right now, Chinatown needs O‘ahu,” said Mayor Caldwell.
Regarding “Open Street Kalakaua,” gatherings are not allowed unless they are in pods of 10 people or less and they must be moving at all times, whether it be walking, running, bike riding, skateboarding or using some other non-vehicular transportation. “Our ‘Open Street Kalākaua’ allows residents of all ages to exercise in a safe manner on a wide and otherwise traffic congested street,” said Mayor Caldwell. “For those who are exercising on Kalākaua, many are also visiting restaurants and other businesses in Waikīkī 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 six 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 O‘ahu 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. The virus is still out there and spreading, and therefore you must protect yourself and others,” said Mayor Caldwell.
On July 11, between 3 p.m. and 11 p.m., all regular TheBus services using Hotel Street will be rerouted to use King Street eastbound and Beretania Street westbound. Routes affected by the Hotel Street closure are: 1, 2, 3, 4, 9, 11, 13, 51, 52, 53, and 54. Call (808) 848-5555 or go to www.thebus.org for more information.
The City recently issued guidelines for a temporary sidewalk dining program to allow dining on City properties island-wide, including sidewalks, malls, and parks, with some restrictions. Restaurants and other food service businesses are now able to setup tables and chairs on the sidewalk fronting their business. Because social distancing requirements restrict the number of diners allowed in an eatery, the City felt that giving owners the opportunity to expand outside of the restaurant will help to bring in more customers, while creating a livelier street scene. No permit is required, but owners must file an online registration form. For this July 11 Dine in Chinatown, this pre-registration is not required. Businesses must comply with their Department of Health Food Establishment permit. Liquor sales may be allowed under a business’ existing liquor license, but sales will not be allowed on pedestrian malls, such as Fort Street Mall, and in parks and playgrounds. The Honolulu Liquor Commission must approve the sale of alcohol in any expanded outdoor dining area. For eateries interested in setting up tables and chairs on the sidewalk after July 11, the registration form, list of guidelines and restrictions, and an FAQ are available here.
At least 14 restaurants along or near Hotel Street will be open, and many of them will have either sidewalk dining or indoor/outdoor patio seating. The City is also encouraging people to explore the rest of Chinatown, where many restaurants and stores will be open. The creative arts district will be wide open, with several art galleries and retail stores open from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with some new murals installed around the neighborhood.
For those coming down to enjoy “Dine in Chinatown” on July 11, or “Open Street Kalākaua” you are reminded to wear a face-covering as required by the recently issued Emergency Order 2020-18, keep a safe physical distance from those not in your household, and practice good hand hygiene. If you are feeling sick, please stay home.