Bissen moves up timeline for phased reopening of West Maui to visitors

The full reopening of West Maui tourist accommodations was supposed to take two more steps
Published: Oct. 23, 2023 at 1:29 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 23, 2023 at 5:18 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Maui’s mayor on Monday announced plans to move up the phased reopening of West Maui to visitors amid an effort to get people back to work.

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said the rest of West Maui would officially reopen to visitors Nov. 1.

Previously, the plan was to open West Maui in three phases.

But after what officials described as a successful soft launch Oct. 8, Bissen said the last two phases (Mahinahina to Maui Kaanapali Villas and the Royal Lahaina Resort to the Hyatt Regency) would be combined. He also noted that the timeline was voluntary and some weren’t following it.

“We know that there is a concern over housing for our displaced and impacted families,” Bissen said, in a news conference, adding that the Red Cross and FEMA are working to ensure the tourism reboot doesn’t negatively impact residents who are recovering.

Bissen also thanked the community for how they’ve handled the reopening, saying that the “interaction between our visitors and our local community has been positive.”

Special Section: Maui Wildfires Disaster

Bissen made the announcement at a news conference with the mayors of Oahu, Hawaii Island and Kauai, who traveled to Maui on Monday to tour the devastation in Lahaina firsthand.

“We’re here today to show our support for the people of Maui,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami added the entire state is mourning with Maui.

The disaster is the deadliest wildfire in the U.S. in more than a century.

As of Monday, the death toll stands at 99 with six people unaccounted for.

The mayoral visits come as recovery efforts in Lahaina continue. EPA crews are still clearing toxic materials from properties as displaced residents search for long-term housing options.

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