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Hawaii restaurant owners say no capacity limit, social distancing is first step back to normal

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Lanikai Brewing

Starting Dec. 1, restaurants and bars on O'ahu will no longer have to operate under a capacity limit or require parties to socially distance from each other, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Tuesday.

HONOLULU (KITV4) -- Starting Dec. 1, restaurants and bars on O'ahu will no longer have to operate under a capacity limit or require parties to socially distance from each other, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Tuesday. 

Steve Haumschild, head of Tap and Barrel brewery in Kailua, said he plans to up staff by about 15% to 20% to accommodate an expected influx in customers.

"We'll definitely have to hire more people since we've been operating at a limited capacity for about the last 18 months," Haumschild said. "So this will provide an opportunity for us to go out and provide more jobs for the community."

However, the number of new workers the brewery can take on will depend on how many customers it actually sees walk into its doors over the next few months, Haumschild explained.

Regardless, the change could present more opportunities for current employees.

"Any staff that we have at part time that could move to full time. It's great that we can provide more jobs and more security for them as well," Haumschild said. 

About a 5-minute drive away, Baci Bistro owner Christina Sargent said the restaurant is equipped with adequate staffing -- and she is thankful to its customers for being patient amid ever-changing COVID-related restrictions.

"Our customer base has been fantastic," Sargent said. "The staff at Baci really appreciate that."

Maui County is also lifting the capacity limit and social distancing rules at restaurants and bars. 

Mayor Michael Victorino said county officials are still discussing other regulations.

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