Senator English Thankful For Closure of Hāna Highway to Non-Residents

March 19, 2020, 8:11 AM HST · Updated March 19, 12:37 PM
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Scenic Hāna coast of Maui. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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Senator J. Kalani English (D-Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lānaʻi and Kaho‘olawe) thanked Governor David Ige for implementing his recommendation to close the Hāna Highway to non-residents to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and Mayor Mike Victorino for closing the back side county road through Kaupō to non-residents.

“On a typical day, thousands of rental cars drive the narrow Hāna Highway and congregate at lookouts and parks,” said Senator English. “During this emergency we need to keep the highway open for residents of East Maui, delivery trucks, and first responders. We cannot have thousands of tourists from around the world causing traffic and entering closed parks, coming into contact with one another and our residents. As a resident of Hāna, I know that the majority of our economy in East Maui depends on tourism and that this pandemic is causing a major hardship, but when we’re choosing between saving lives and the economy, health must come first.”

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Governor Ige instructed the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation to place signs along the Hāna Highway notifying drivers that the highway is restricted to residents only. He also instructed the Maui Visitors Bureau to inform all industry partners and ask rental car companies to advise all customers of the restriction.

Mayor Victorino instructed Maui County departments to close the back-side road through Kaupō to Hāna to non-residents as part of his Emergency Rules that take effect at 7:45 a.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020.

NOTE:  The County is restricting travel on Piʻilani Highway from ʻUlupalakua to Kīpahulu and on Kahekili Highway from Waiheʻe to Kahakuloa village to local traffic only. The State Department of Transportation is also restricting travel on Hāna Highway from Kaupakalua Road to Hāna Town to local traffic only.

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