The First Steps Back Into Society


Kainoa Enos

With Hawaii slowly loosening restrictions by opening shopping malls and retail stores. Many are eager to go outside as well as some who are hesitant to go.

Although the struggle of the global pandemic continues, some states in the U.S. have decided to open up businesses and shops in order to keep the economy and society going. So it was only a matter of time until Hawaii started to open up too.

With the Hawaiian islands slowing beginning to loosen restrictions on the stay-at-home order, there are those who are hesitant to go back out into society and some who are waiting to jump right back into it.

Shaun Apiki is a 21-year-old Kaneohe resident who expressed his excitement when asked about the restrictions loosening.

“I’m definitely going back outside,” Apiki said. “But I will take precautions like masks and not being up in people’s personal space.”

Hawaii’s stay-at-home order was issued by Gov. David Ige on March 25 through April 30. However, the order was later extended to May 31. Although the order has been extended to another month, there are still plans to open up businesses and shops slowly during May.

When asking Apiki about the possibility of confirmed cases increasing when the restrictions loosen, He went to say how that possibility is more plausible than it seems.

“I think the number of cases will always increase,” Apiki said. “So when restrictions are lifted, I know there’s going to be a rise in cases.”

Lehua Awa is a 32-year-old Kahalu’u resident, and although she has maintained a positive outlook during this pandemic, she shared many of her concerns with the loosening of restrictions.

“Although it’s good to see the economy starting to open, I think that the number one priority is to take precautions,” Awa said. “Otherwise we’re going to see another increase again and have to go back to square one.”

Awa went on to say that when the restrictions start to loosen, she’ll stay indoors for a few weeks longer just to see how things play out.

“I’m not too concerned about the local community going out,” she said. “It’s more towards the tourist who are going to start flying in since we’re open and tests are almost non-existent.”

On Tuesday, Gov. Ige issued authorization for shopping malls as well as a bunch of retail businesses to reopen on May 15 as long as they find a way to reduce physical contact between employees and customers. The announcement was made on Ige’s daily press conference.

Ige continued by saying that if there is a new wave of Covid-19 during the reopening of these businesses and malls, the state will step backwards and shut down again.

Elijah Mori, a 20-year-old Kaneohe resident, works in the retail as a receiving/stock clerk for Macy’s. When asked about the reopening of shopping malls and businesses, Mori expressed how it isn’t a good idea to be opening them all at once.

“I understand that reopening will get the economy back up and running,” he said. “But opening up all shopping malls and retail stores all at once is a problem waiting to happen.”

Mori continued by expressing how anxious he is to be going back to work so soon, especially with having to meet with customers face-to-face.

“It is definitely nerve racking having to go back to work so soon,” he said. “Knowing that there still has yet to be a vaccine just adds more to my nerves.”

When asked about some of the precautions he will take while working, Mori had said that he’ll be keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer at all times as well as a mask.

With Hawaii slowly stepping back into the society by loosening restrictions and opening up shopping malls and retail stores, it appears that some of the people of Hawaii are a bit hesitant with this next phase as well as those who are eager to jump right back into it.