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All of West Maui Opening for Tourism Except for Lahaina

The phased reopening of West Maui began on Oct. 8 from the Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua to Kahana Villa. Maui County will now reopen the remaining area from Kahana to Kaanapali. 

The mayor said he decided to reopen the rest of West Maui starting on Nov. 1 after consulting with his Lahaina advisory team, the Red Cross and other partners. He also said he listened to community feedback regarding the earlier phase of reopening.  

In the beginning of the month, residents from Lahaina delivered a petition asking to delay plans to reopen portions of West Maui to tourism. At least 99 people died in the Aug. 8 fire that burned through Lahaina, and thousands of community members lost their homes. Some West Maui residents said they were still grieving and dealing with uncertainty regarding their housing. 

“The Red Cross has assured me that housing for displaced Lahaina residents, including those staying in hotels, is not in jeopardy,” Bissen said. “In addition, the County has a commitment from other partners to work on developing child care programs for displaced families. Sheltering close to 7,000 survivors remains a critical focus of our efforts and their needs are our priority.”

Bissen’s phased approach to reopening West Maui was developed after Hawaii Gov. Josh Green announced West Maui would reopen on Oct. 8. Green said the reopening would bring back jobs and help the economy recover.

After the Lahaina fire, Green issued an emergency proclamation that strongly discouraged travel to West Maui. Other officials and people on social media followed suit, spreading the message that West Maui is closed. However, a few weeks later, officials started spreading a slightly different message, encouraging visitors to other parts of Maui to help the economy. 

The mayor’s phased plan to reopen West Maui focuses on allowing residents to return to work, creating childcare opportunities, settling children into temporary state Department of Education elementary and intermediate schools and Lahainaluna High School, and helping with housing needs. 

The Hawaii Tourism Authority advises travelers to check with individual accommodations and other businesses to determine their availability. The state agency is launching a new video series to welcome mindful visitors and talk about how tourists can be respectful. Signs and information flyers will include tips for travelers to support the community’s healing. 

“As travelers return to Maui after the devastating August wildfires, they will help to sustain jobs, keep businesses open, and support the community,” the HTA said in a news release. 

Source : SpectrumNews