Precautions Being Taken Against the Coronavirus


Photo courtesy of Sai Saifoloi

Bus driver takes precaution against Covid-19 with mask and gloves.

Shear Power Hair Salon has been open for over 40 years in Kailua. Paula Keahi, the owner of Shear Power, closed the shop on March 22 due to Covid-19. She plans to reopen on April 20. 

The salon offers hair cuts, coloring, styling, makeovers, and manicures. There are six people who work at the salon that specialize in the different categories. The employees are not getting paid but have full range to freelance and go to peoples houses at their own risk, said Keahi. 

Everyone around the world is feeling the effect of the virus. According to the State of Hawai’i – Department of Health and Disease Outbreak Control Division, there were 182 new cases – 25 from Honolulu as of April 1. Locals share how they have had to change their everyday habits and lives to ensure theirs and others safety.

Public transportation is still open but some states have gone down. The Verge, an online newspaper, had requested ridership data from most major transit agencies in the United States to get a sense of how they were doing in the initial stages of the pandemic. The response from some cities was grim, while others appeared to be holding steady in these early days of the outbreak. Ridership in Oahu has dropped from about 200,000 a day to 69,000 a day, a 65 percent decline, said by city officials, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser on March 28.

“I have to stop taking The Bus,” said Mike McCormack, an 86-year-old from Honolulu. “I’ve been taking The Bus since I was a teenager. It’s how I get to places, like to go pay my bills, get food, and to go to the doctors but I had to stop because I’m over 80-years-old. I could easily get sick from public transportation, and I don’t want to die.”

People over the age of 80 have a higher chance of contracting the virus and also dying from it than younger people, according to Vox, an online newspaper. But that doesn’t mean younger adults and kids are invincible from this. The New York Post reported on March 28 that a 17-year-old from Los Angeles tested positive for the coronavirus and died.

“This is crazy,” said Josiah Selau, an 18-year-old first-year college student at Gonzaga University from Waipahu, Oahu. “I came home for a fun spring break with my friends and to go to the beach every day but turns out, I can’t do any of that. I’m also not even going back to school because the campus is shut down. Everything is weird, and now I get to live with my parents again. This sucks but hey at least my classes are online right?” 

Schools around the world have been moving to online. Colleges, high schools and even elementary schools are taking this seriously. Chaminade is one of those schools that have taken the action to move classes to online to ensure students safety and to stop the spread.

“With being a kindergarten teacher, the steps of ensuring the kids’ safety comes first,” said Tavai Gapelu, a 28-year-old teacher at Saint Anne’s School in Honolulu. “The school has protocols for situations like this that we follow. The number one thing to do was shut down the school. I made packets for the students to take home and do for the next week, while I work on making an online class.”

According to the Washington Post on March 11, Covid-19 took its toll on the U.S. economy with putting millions unemployed. A record of 3.3 million people filed for unemployment the last week of March according to The Guardian. Here in Oahu, restaurants reported thousands of layoffs. It’s not just travel agencies, airlines, and hotels going through it but also mom-and-pop businesses, small bakery shops, car dealerships, restaurants, and industry workers. An expert in the Star-Advertiser said on March 26, about 8,400 unemployment claims were filed as of March, pushing the estimated unemployment rate to 12.6 percent.

Brandon Joe Dias has had his pool business, Poseidon Pools Hawaii, for over 40 years. He had to stop three projects he was working on. Two jobs he canceled, and one was put on hold till May. The job site that was put on hold was halfway through. His main focus is making sure his 15 workers are healthy and safe. If they work it’s not like they can stay 6 feet away from one another, he said.

“I have my own pool business, which means I go to people’s houses,” said Dias, a 63-year-old from Honolulu. “Since this pandemic of the coronavirus has gotten bad, I have canceled or put on hold all jobs to ensure the safety of my employees and the customers. I just hope it won’t be like this for a long time.”