The Garden Island
By Sabrina Bodon
Burger King ran out of burgers, and Kentucky Fried Chicken ran out of mashed potatoes.
These were just some of the effects of a barge shipment delayed due to crew members contracting COVID-19, setting off a small chain reaction on the island.
“We are frustrated because we are serving our customers, and the customers were disappointed,” Burger King Manager Marionette Cataquian said Thursday. “That’s why they come to our restaurant, to buy the stuff they like.”
The fast-food establishment remained busy at lunchtime Thursday, with customers stopping to read that their favorite meals were not for sale. Signs, like Cataquian’s, went up at various spots around the island, notifying customers of the lack of goods.
“The burgers, the Whoppers, every day, that is the one thing people want,” Cataquian said. “We try our best to serve customers. We try to explain, but some customers don’t understand.”
Burger King typically orders extra burgers in each shipment, Cataquian said, and sometimes other restaurants will stop by to pick up those extras. This week, there were no extras.
The barge was initially scheduled to depart from Honolulu for Nawiliwili Thursday, July 22, but was delayed until Saturday, July 24, after five Young Brothers crew members set to sail last week for Kaua‘i tested positive for COVID-19, forcing crew members into quarantine.
Because of temporary adjustments in the sailing schedule to maintain U.S. Coast Guard tug crew-manning requirements, another barge that was scheduled to depart for Nawiliwili this past Monday was delayed.
Natural Pet Hawai‘i in Puhi was also affected, owner Jennifer Pimsaguan reported.
“We keep a list of people to call when their stuff comes in,” Pimsaguan said.
“It’s crazy, it’s weird that one facet of it shuts down and Kaua‘i is left high and dry,” Pimsaguan said. “The outer islands definitely need to figure out something. Barges are really important here. People depend on them every day.”
Some of Pimsaguan’s inventory comes straight to Kaua‘i, others have to stop on O‘ahu, and depending on various circumstances, like one shipment not making a transfer, her items may be delayed.
Natural Pet carries a variety of specialty animal foods, many for dogs or cats with allergies.
“It’s hard for me to run out because people depend on a certain style of food for their animal,” Pimsaguan said.
Young Brothers will sail a recovery on Saturday, July 31, as noted in the customer notice.
“Young Brothers will continue to safeguard the wellbeing of our team members, customers and the communities we serve from COVID-19,” Megan Rycraft, director of health, safety, quality and environment at Young Brothers, LLC, said in a statement last week. “The health and safety of our employees is our top priority as we continue to provide our 12 weekly sailings between the islands.”
The port will have special gate hours on Sunday, Aug. 1, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with an hour lunch closure starting at noon. These same extended hours will be in effect on Monday, Aug. 2, as well.
Following is a schedule of release of goods:
• Dry and refrigerated straight load containers: upon discharge;
• Refrigerated loose and palletized cargo: Sunday, Aug. 1 at 1 p.m.;
• Dry and mixed palletized cargo: Monday, Aug. 2;
• Automobiles and roll-on roll-off cargo: Monday, Aug. 2.
On the other hand, some weren’t affected at all.
Brandon Yoshimoto of McDonald’s Kaua‘i said it was “business as usual” at his location this past week, and he has not seen any ripple to the delayed shipment.
Yoshimoto said there have been longer delays due to treacherous surf that the barges couldn’t make it through.
“Everywhere will always have hiccups,” Yoshimoto said. “You cannot help that they’re (Young Brothers) taking precautions.”
This article was updated at 10:40 a.m., on Friday, July 30 to clarify when the recovery barge would sail.