Hanauma Bay closure hurts small businesses

Hanauma Bay closure hurts small businesses

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The sign on Kalanianaole Highway told visitors Hanauma Bay was closed Monday -- the third straight day high surf and rip currents forced officials to close the beach.

"We're trying to just err on the side of caution, and provide a safe place for all of our visitors and beach goers," city Parks and Recreation acting director Albert Tufono said.

He estimates the city is losing $12,000 daily in admission fees.

It's also costly for small businesses that rent snorkel gear and shuttle people to and from Hanauma Bay.

Marcio Lira estimates the closures have cost his Kaimana Tours company about $6,000 in canceled trips.

"Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Wednesday are the busiest for us. Lots of customers fly in and fly out," he said.

Another casualty is The Tram at Hanauma Bay. It makes money moving people.

"We charge $1.00 to take people down, or $1.25 up. The all-day pass, which we do most of, is $2.00," assistant manager Chris Langford said.

Tufono estimates 1,600 people visit Hanauma Bay daily. It has closed because of box jellyfish and tsunami scares, but officials can't remember the last time surf shut it down three days in a row.

Visitors are disappointed.

"This place is famous. We were hoping it would work out," Denver resident John Bogumill said.

Hanauma Bay regularly closes on Tuesdays, so it won't be until Wednesday morning when lifeguards do another assessment.

"They provide us with the recommendation. Hopefully, we can get the work out as soon as possible," Tufono said.

"I hope it's open," Langford said. "That's one of the days I'm scheduled to be into work. Hopefully, it'll get better."

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