Kauai's tourism dollars washed away with the flooding

Businesses on Kauai that rely on tourism are facing a new reality - their customers are gone."We're pretty muc...

Posted: Apr 20, 2018 1:04 PM
Updated: Apr 20, 2018 1:04 PM

Businesses on Kauai that rely on tourism are facing a new reality - their customers are gone.

"We're pretty much cut off from the rest of the world," Gregg Fraser, Hawaii Restaurant Association said.

The main hotel in Wainiha is the Hanalei Colony. Just a week ago, its rooms were filled with folks from out of town. Not one of them are left.

"We have to do whatever we can do to help, this is going to be a long haul for us," Laura Richards, Hanalei Colony Resort said.

The resort has since been housing first responders, firefighters, police and volunteers for free. The resort's employees are still showing up for work but exactly how long their employer will be able to keep its staff on the job remains in question.

"There's still bills here, the bills don't stop when the roads are closed," Fraser said.

The nearby Opakapaka Grill and Bar is the only restaurant that remains open in the area. The owner told Island News he's keeping his staff employed to continue serving the community but it's costing him his own money to do so.

"We used to have 200-plus covers a day and now we're feeding 20-30 people and half of that is for free or at half price discount," Fraser said.

The owner of another business says he's hoping the government will step in and offer assistance.

"As far as the economy, it's absolutely devastating. We do rely on the visitor industry and it's probably going to be for five months before that returns," Will Stewart, Na Pali Art Gallery said.

Two of the three businesses are also hoping for relief from their landlords by way of assistance.

"I've had this shop for over 15 years and we're just going to have to see how this goes," Stewart said.

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