In a press release as well as a very heated meeting in Kaanapali, Richard Bissen confirmed what we have long suspected and that you have also mentioned in many comments. Only a limited area of West Maui travel will resume on October 8.

Maui announces “phased approach” to re-opening West Maui to visitors.

When Governor Josh Green announced clearly that West Maui travel would resume on October 8, there were no accompanying details as to exactly how that was going to happen. That seemed increasingly odd as time went on without any further announcement by anyone until yesterday.

What was clear is that the governor wanted to stop the loss of up to $13M daily into the Maui economy that occurred following the fires. But what would become of 8,000 individuals who became homeless as a result of the Lahaina Fire? Many of those people are now living in the very resorts that the governor included in that reopening proclamation.

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen said, “Our priorities have focused on the well-being of our people, and that will continue to be critically important. Six weeks ago, we focused on searching for unaccounted loved ones and supporting the safety and health of survivors. As we take careful steps forward in an unprecedented disaster, addressing our West Maui visitor industry, their employees, and the local businesses that work in conjunction with the industry requires planning that will get us to a manageable re-opening. Our goal is to introduce a phased approach that will begin on October 8 and allows for housing needs to be clearly addressed.”

There are a multitude of issues that Maui is facing, including “residents returning to work, establishing needed childcare, placing children into the temporary state Department of Education elementary and intermediate schools and Lahainaluna High School, and provide for a more deliberate process to help with housing needs for the thousands in temporary shelter at many hotel properties. The phased approach calls for a staggered focus on the return of visitors to the westside hotel properties and the area.”

Here’s what opens in West Maui on October 8.

Phase 1, as it is being called, consists of Ritz-Carlton, Maui Kapalua to Kahana Villa. This is the north-most part of the area.

No date given for further opening in phases two and three at this time.

After the first phase, Maui County said it will be conducting “an assessment of Phase 1 re-opening” to determine when the next phase of reopening can occur. There is no date that has been suggested as to when that might be.

Phase two, when it reopens, will include Mahinahina to Maui Kaanapali Villas.

Phase three will reopen in the same manner as Phase two. Following phase two’s reopening, an assessment will be conducted, after which the final phase can be scheduled for reopening.  

The mayor did offer the following with regard to the final phase of reopening. “With the majority of displaced residents sheltered in this area, this will be the last phase to allow for more time to address housing options.”

Phase three will consist of Royal Lahaina Resort to the Hyatt Regency Maui. 

Is West Maui open or isn’t it?

Yes, technically it is. Many businesses have reopened. However, visitors have been “discouraged” by the state and some others from visiting until October 8. While some feel that this has taken far too long and has resulted in unnecessary financial hardship, others feel exactly the opposite and don’t want it to reopen that soon.

Contentious meeting at West Maui Resort this week.

Even as the mayor announced his phased reopening plan, there was a very heated meeting that took place with hundreds of residents asking that a halt be put on West Maui’s reopening beyond October 8. That followed sign-waving on the highway.

How do you feel about the just revised West Maui reopening plan?

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