Signs: Bamboo Restaurant

The Bamboo Restaurant in Hawi, Hawaii

This is one of the signs outside the Bamboo Restaurant in downtown Hawi. While some local restaurants had been offering take-out food, the Bamboo had remained closed during the pandemic. It’s not really geared to be a take-out restaurant and a lot of its business comes from visitors to the island. But about a month ago, the restaurant reopened with restricted hours.

The number of visitors to the island has increased to such an extent that there’s a shortage of rental cars available. When things shut down, the rental car companies shipped vehicles to the mainland for sale, rather than have them depreciate in their parking lots. But the rapidly increasing visitor numbers have caught them out and it sounds like it will be a while before they’re able to get their fleets back to their usual levels.

In the meantime, the reopening of the Bamboo is another encouraging sign that things could be getting back to normal around here.

16 thoughts on “Signs: Bamboo Restaurant

  1. Terri Webster Schrandt

    It is very nice to see favorite places reopen, Graham. I wonder how many local businesses are staying closed? Interesting to read in the comments that Kona and Hilo had more covid cases, which is not surprising. I think the same is true in many rural areas, I know it’s true in ours. Here in Stevens County, just north of Spokane, masks are optional at every business, no signs on the doors. Go to Spokane businesses just a few miles away or banks and masks are still required.

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    1. Graham Post author

      I think all businesses here are opening as soon as they can because they can see this upswing is likely to last. Of course, that doesn’t include those that closed for good, either knowingly or because they couldn’t outlast the shutdown. I expect the differing requirements are true all over the country, but presumably those requirements will fade away with a decline in the number of cases.

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    1. Graham Post author

      It’s getting there. I think in the next month or so there will more relaxation of travel rules and less support for the unemployed which will move things along. Currently, there are a lot of job openings that people aren’t interested in because they’re making more money being unemployed. I know, because I’m back at work now and making less than I was getting!

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  2. kzmcb

    I enjoyed hearing about the year that was, and its effect on now, from another part of the world. It keeps me grounded, as we were very lucky in Australia (except Victoria which had the longest lock down in the world), although the tourism industry was hit hard, as with you. We’re still locking out visitors (and citizens stuck in other countries) so posts like yours remind me of the nitty gritty still affecting many people.

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    1. Graham Post author

      Hawaii really didn’t suffer too badly. Yes, the economy tanked, but government support for those affected by this was pretty good. We never had any real lockdowns. We were always allowed to go out for exercise on land and in the water. All in all, I feel very fortunate the way things worked out here. I think most other places had a much worse time of it.

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  3. restlessjo

    Was Hawaii much affected by Covid, Graham? I have no idea where it figured in the scheme of things. The USA had individual rules for states, didn’t it? Easy enough to close off to visitors but not for those whose livelihood depends on tourism.

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    1. Graham Post author

      Oahu had the most cases and deaths, but he other islands were less affected. Here, the main hotspots were Kona and Hilo, the biggest towns. Up where I live I think we only had about half a dozen cases and no deaths, so we were really lucky. In general, Hawaii fared better than most states because of its isolation. They effectively made it very hard for people to visit with 10-day quarantines, which pretty much shut down tourism. On the downside the economy collapsed and the only reason people got through it OK was because of government support of one kind or another.

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        1. Graham Post author

          There have been quite a few government programs in the U.S. from unemployment boosts to eviction moratoriums to rent and mortgage assistance. I think even the Republicans here recognized that making a chunk of society destitute and homeless was a recipe for discontent and possible civil unrest.

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