Peter Merriman: “An extremely confusing situation”
As awareness of the COVID-19 pandemic began to grow in Hawai’i, chef and restaurateur Peter Merriman, owner of 10 Merriman’s and Monkeypod restaurants statewide, wrote to the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii. Josh Green.
“I said, ‘I don’t know what we can do to help, but we are here if you need help,” he said. MauiTime in an interview.
Tuesday morning, Green responded. He said, ‘What would be nice if you shut up. “”
That’s not what Merriman expected, nor the 1,000 employees he laid off after the last dinners were served Tuesday night, as his restaurants switch to take-out only. “These people have rent checks, they have car payments, and they have kids, so that’s a big deal. There are about 14 days of unemployment benefits and then what happens? I really hope the government finds a way to send money to everyone.
Like other restaurateurs who see a lot of tourists, Merriman was at odds over the situation.
“We have a huge volume of business,” he said. “Right now, we have to cancel 300 reservations tomorrow, and that’s only at one of our restaurants. What people don’t understand is that there are already tourists here, and some of these tourists are extending their stay because they don’t want to go home. Again, it becomes an employee issue. I want our employees to have work available to them, but do I want them exposed to 200-300 diners in a room? It is an extremely confusing situation.
On top of that, he added, “The group that nobody thinks about is the little farmer sitting on crops all around the state that he was going to sell me tomorrow, the next day and the next week. Now what will happen to him?
In his 35 years in Hawai’i – including 25 in Maui – Merriman said he had never seen anything like the crisis that enveloped the islands. September 11 was similar, he said, “but it was a particular impact. For five days, there was no theft.
But this? He stopped himself. “You try to figure out where the end is and it’s impossible. When do we reopen? It’s going to be really interesting. Merriman knows it won’t be in 15 days, as Governor David Ige suggested during his press conference on Tuesday. “I think it’s until further notice. We haven’t even come close to the top yet. “