Stores continue to reopen at Prince Kuhio Plaza

  • Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald Jontae Leonard disinfects the top of a clothing rack Wednesday at Zumiez in Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo.

Fifteen stores inside Hilo’s Prince Kuhio Plaza have opened their doors since the mall’s reopening on May 9.

Accessibility to personal protective equipment as well as employees’ ability to return to their jobs have caused many stores to remain closed while others slowly reopen, Prince Kuhio Plaza manager Daniel Kea said.

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Patrons are required to wear masks before entering the mall and are encouraged to stay six feet apart. Communal spaces are closed, and hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the mall.

Stores are required to follow the same health and safety standards and social distancing policy, Kea said.

As of Friday, Sears and Macy’s were the largest stores to completely open their doors to customers.

“Old Navy hasn’t told us anything.” Kea said. “T.J. Maxx has been closed, because they’re still waiting for personal protective equipment.”

Zumiez reopened last Friday and has implemented restrictions to help keep shoppers safe.

A hand sanitizer station in the front of Zumiez separates people entering and exiting the store. Only five customers are allowed in at a time, and face masks are required.

“Monitoring the amount of people in the store is probably the biggest difference from before,” Brittney Ganir, first assistant manager of Zumiez, said. “Requiring face masks and hand sanitizer just feels like common sense and makes us more aware.”

Before reopening, employees spent days at Zumiez rearranging the entire store to allow customers to keep safe distances while they shop. Although the store has been able to implement the required guidelines needed to reopen, Ganir is not surprised that many of her neighbors have yet to open.

“We were really surprised at how quickly this happened,” Ganir said. “Prepping takes time, and the bigger stores have a lot to cover.”

Jeans Warehouse is another apparel store that recently reopened after closing in March.

An employee stands in front of the store to make sure customers are wearing face masks and using the complementary hand sanitizer before they come in.

While checking out, customers are separated from employees by a plastic curtain to alleviate potential risk.

“It’s been slow, but surprisingly business has been good,” employee Tomi Kea said. “I think people are excited to shop again and get back to some normalcy.”

After a customer purchases an accessory, Kea disinfects the counter before the next transaction.

“People might make fun of me, but I want to be as safe and careful as possible,” Kea said.

The stores and restaurants that are currently open inside Prince Kuhio Plaza include: Cinnabon, Enjoy Comics, Famous Footwear, GNC, Got Gifts, Hallmark, Hawaii Island Creations, The Hawaiian Jewelry Store, Jeans Warehouse, Journeys, Macy’s, Petco, Sears, Sketchers, Vitamin World and Zumiez.

Property management associate Makanalani Guillermo with Prince Kuhio Plaza has been updating the mall’s website regularly as more stores and restaurants reopen.

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The updated list can be found at https://www.princekuhioplaza.com/en/directory/open-stores.html.

Email Kelsey Walling at kwalling@hawaiitribune-herald.com

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