Mayor Richard Bissen announces a ‘phased approach’ to reopening West Maui to visitors
Mayor Richard Bissen and members of his Lahaina Advisory Team have shaped a phased approach to the reopening of West Maui to visitors following an announcement by Gov. Josh Green that West Maui will reopen on Oct. 8, 2023.
“Our priorities have focused on the wellbeing of our people and that will continue to be critically important,” Mayor Bissen said in a news release. “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 reopening. Our goal is to introduce a phased approach that will begin on Oct. 8 and allows for housing needs to be clearly addressed.”
The developed phases will provide for residents to return to work, establish needed childcare, settle 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 westside hotel properties and the West Maui area.
Phase 1: Beginning on Oct. 8
- Ritz-Carlton, Maui Kapalua to Kahana Villa
Phase 2: To begin following an assessment of Phase 1 reopening
- Māhinahina to Maui Kāʻanapali Villas
Phase 3: To begin following an assessment of Phase 2 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.
- Royal Lahaina Resort to the Hyatt Regency
Locations on Maui that have been completely closed include historic Lahaina Town and the surrounding areas impacted by the fire of Aug. 8.
“While the rest of West Maui remained open with small businesses operating and hotel properties utilized for disaster victims, visitors were encouraged to visit other locations on Maui out of respect for the great sensitivity to the area and the gravity of the situation for affected residents,” according to the press release.