Maui Business

UH Survey: Hawaiʻi Restaurants Expect Massive Permanent Closures Without Quick Revival of Tourism

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More than half of Hawaiʻi’s restaurants will be forced to permanently close by April 2021 if tourism does not significantly increase, according to a survey by the Public Policy Center, which is housed in the College of Social Sciences at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

The survey also revealed 87% of those restaurateurs believe that if their restaurant fails, they will not be able to secure financing to start over.

The survey received 184 responses with slightly more than 50% of respondents operating restaurants solely on Oʻahu.


“If these assessments come to pass, not only will a vibrant portion of our state’s culture be silenced, but those members of our community with the skill and experience to resurrect the restaurant industry in a post-COVID environment will be locked out of doing so due to lack of ability to gain capital to restart,” the report states.

Survey results indicated a strong statewide perception that government contact tracing has been ineffective, with less than 4% of restaurants seeing tangible results of the contact tracing efforts they have been directed to undertake. A majority of restaurateurs also have expressed “little” to “no” confidence in government decision making in regards to COVID-19.

Restaurant owners and managers, however, are not opposed to taking additional safety procedures if these would lead to a loosening of restrictions.


This is the Public Policy Center’s third report on Hawaiʻi’s restaurant industry during COVID-19, which is aimed to stimulate discussions and inspire a renewed partnership between the restaurant industry and government officials.

View the entire report on the Public Policy Center’s website.

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