Ask the Mayor: Is a ‘No Dancing Law’ in Effect in Maui County?

September 7, 2015, 10:50 AM HST · Updated September 14, 7:18 AM
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Maui Dance Advocates at the State Capitol. File photo 2012 credit: Photo courtesy, Anthony Simmons.

Maui Dance Advocates at the State Capitol. File photo 2012 credit: Photo courtesy, Anthony Simmons.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mayor:

Q: I’ve heard about this no dancing law, but I’ve never seen it in effect personally. So we can dance on the dance floor of a liquor serving establishment, but once you step off, you can’t dance anywhere within the building? Is that true and how do you even enforce something like that? Has it been enforced?

A: Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation in the community on this matter. Whether or not a liquor-serving establishment allows dancing and where the dancing takes place is decided by the business. State law provides that facilities for dancing by patrons may be permitted as provided by liquor commission rules and all four counties have similar rules establishing a minimum dance floor size.

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Often what happens is that a liquor-serving establishment gets crowded and people start dancing in the aisles and walkways. Aisles and walkways must remain clear and unobstructed for safety reasons. Section 08-101-90(b) of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes says that the “licensee shall ensure at all times that entrances to restrooms, aisles, or walkways within the premises are cleared of any congestion or blockage which would prevent any person entry to or exit from the restrooms, from moving freely within any aisle or walkway, or entry to or exit from the premises.”

Because of this law, an employee of the establishment may tell people dancing in the aisles and walkways to move to the dance floor, not because they are dancing, but because they are blocking the aisles and walkways.

Otherwise liquor inspectors who see the blockage can write up a violation, and have in the past. Last year there were five written warnings handed out to several establishments that were in violation of this particular law.

Please note that violations of this section don’t have to involve dancing. Someone could be standing or sitting or there could even be an object like a potted plant or table that blocks these key access points that should have been kept clear.

So as you can see, this business about a “no dancing law” in Maui County is purely an exaggeration. As long as certain areas are kept clear, it doesn’t matter where people choose to dance.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email, by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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