While businesses welcome a tourism boom, some worry it came too quickly


After a year of big losses, Oahu businesses aren't complaining about big crowds of visitors

By Chelsea Davis | March 29, 2021 at 7:19 PM HST - Updated March 29 at 7:41 PM

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - As coronavirus cases rise on Oahu, some fear it means falling back into Tier 2 restrictions. Mayor Blangiardi has said that’s not an option.

Lindsey Dymond, Kalapawai Cafe owner, said between the traffic, beaches and energy levels – Kailua is beginning beginning to look like pre-pandemic days.

“It feels like we went back to 110 mph just in the last couple of weeks,” Dymond said. “I was over here at the Kailua town location over the weekend on Saturday and it looked like Kailua from 2019.”

Dymond said business is good, but the busyness comes at a cost.

“Traffic was a nightmare. Everyone got used to no traffic, getting around real easily,” said Dymond.

“I wasn’t expecting Hawaii to have so much traffic,” Daniela Hayek, who is visiting from Philadelphia with her husband Anthony.

It’s the Hayeks first time to the islands.

Anthony said the rules are stricter in Hawaii than what they were expecting.

“Stricter in a good way. If they’re stricter, it’s better for society. It’s safer,” said Anthony.

The Communications Director for the city and county of Honolulu said they recognize there has been an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases over the past week on Oahu and they are monitoring current conditions.

“We continue to safely reopen the economy allowing more people to return to work. The community must also work together to prevent the spread of the virus,” said Tim Sakahara.

Dymond said he hasn’t seen that many rule breakers but acknowledges more visitor education is needed.

“I haven’t really seen a lot of people blatantly ignoring the rules that everybody here has worked so hard to keep in line over the last year,” he said. “I do think that there’s some opportunity to better communicate to our visitors what the expectation is here.”