Petition To Delay Reopening West Maui October 8 Under Way

A petition gaining thousands of signors seeks to delay the reopening of West Maui. As you know, after much wavering, Hawaii’s governor set October 8 as the date on which he asks visitors to return again following the Lahaina fire. It was previously expected to be October 17, which was then moved a number of times before arriving at the current one.

Many feel that October 8 is far too late in helping West Maui’s economy.

In countless comments, those in West Maui have begged visitors to return immediately in order to avoid financial ruin. Some visitors have heeded those suggestions and here’s one such example:

“We arrived to Maui on Sept. 15 at our timeshare in Kaanapali. Hearing all the news about the people of Hawaii—those wanting tourists and those who think West Maui need to stay closed makes you wonder how the reception upon arrival would be. Oh My!!! Everyone was so happy to see us and the few others that were checking in……..…All the employees were excited to back to work. Yes, some of them had lost family members and homes in the fire. Others had not. They said the need to move forward. Each of them thanked us for coming and said we’re part of the recovery….. So please come.”

While for others, October 8 is way too soon.

The petition has amassed nearly 5,000 signatures in short order, with a goal of 6,400. The reason stated for the petition is that “the voices of our displaced residents, who have endured immeasurable hardships, have not been adequately heard.”

A closed-door meeting with limited participation resulted in the latest West Maui.

“The private meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, which exclusively represented select business interests, has been cited as the basis for this decision.” We wrote about this curious closed-door meeting recently attended by the Governor, Maui Mayor, and state officials. It isn’t clear why there wasn’t more widespread input solicited during the decision-making process. Especially under these extraordinary circumstances.

You can see the petition’s headline below and view it at Lahaina Strong.

Even the governor clarified last Friday that the planned reopening details are anything but complete.

Scurrying about, the state is trying to find places to consolidate fire victims’ accommodations while still reopening to visitors in the planned time frame. Without visitors, there is no way for those working in hotels, restaurants, activities, and a host of ancillary occupations to stay fully employed.

Others have said that it isn’t a great time for visitors in West Maui.

Your comments have included that many times. Such as whether it is appropriate for visitors and residents to be placed into such an awkward situation so soon after the fire devastation in nearby Lahaina town.

What exactly does reopening of West Maui mean?

Regular Pat asked, “What does “reopening West Maui” actually mean? Isn’t a lot of it already open?” That is absolutely true. What is means is that the State of Hawaii has asked visitors to refrain from visiting West Maui until such a date, currently set for October 8.

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65 thoughts on “Petition To Delay Reopening West Maui October 8 Under Way”

  1. I am Canadian. My original travel plans had me in West Maui from Sept. 18 until Oct.8. Our province too, has experienced devastating fires, this year, and for at least the previous 10 years. We understand the havoc fires and floods create, leaving our inhabitants both sorrowful and reeling. So, of course, I postponed my plans until Spring. Touched beyond measure by Maui’s plight, each day I read news reports for hints of recovery. What I read is different each day. I cannot put my finger on Maui’s pulse. And, if I feel that way, then surely , others are as confused as I am. It is natural, to be caught up in such haunting sorrow, and the world wants to help. Tell us how and make the message clear and constant.

  2. We are planning to come to West Maui in December, I have reservations due to not wanting to displace any Lahaina resident for my Vacation. We want to spend money to get local economy back on there feet but also recognize the need for time to heal. We have been going to the Kaanapali area every year for the last 10 Years and we want to respect the locals and what has happened. Is December too soon?
    Should we reschedule, well move to another area or a different island?

  3. Bottom line: The economy depends on tourism. Staying closed accomplishes Nothing for anyone. No tourists are going into the burn area. The people who lost their homes need to work. Staying closed means they don’t work and keep sitting in hotel rooms. Government funding cannot carry their lives forever.
    By the way, I have many friends who lost their homes and everything. All of them are saying “I need to get back to work so my life can get somewhat of purpose again.” ” Sitting in a hotel unemployed with no job and no hope is worse.” I am a resident of Maui myself who was evacuated but did not lose my home. I want to help all those who have too.
    But no progress is made by delaying a date. Aloha 🤙🏝️

  4. Where’s the story?

    Tourists aren’t coming. Airlines are reducing seats/flights, which means less tourists.

    Maybe you should run stories on a tourist dance (think rain dance)?

    It’ll be years before things improve.

    Hoping for money to fall from the sky is a poor recovery plan.

  5. Really, your changing the opening again? This is so messed up. I really do not understand why a government agency can not make up their minds. It makes Maui look bad. Tourist are getting frustrated and are no longer wanting to come period. I just cancelled my 10 day vac yesterday. Mainly because of all this stuff I read on the beat about the governor

  6. We just returned from South Maui (Kihei). When we arrived, It was sad to see all the rental cars just sitting at the airport collecting dust. The island for the most part was empty. When we shopped or ate out everyone was so happy we came. It was apparent that all the small businesses are struggling. If you are still unsure about traveling to Maui I can tell you not to cancel. Everything other than West Maui is open. We followed the guidance and stayed away from West Maui. There is so much to see and do in other parts of Maui and the businesses will be happy to see you. Our thoughts and prayers are for all the people in Lahaina and the families that lost loved ones. Aloha a maluhia!

  7. Aloha,
    We had booked this trip back in April.
    We stayed in Kihei from 9/1/23-9/15/23. It was a wonderful trip. We saw so much aloha spirit from everyone we encountered. We drove to Napili Bay one day. It was so heart breaking to see the devastation of the fires from the bypass road. My husband and I both shed many tears. We made some donations to a couple of local causes while we were there. We went on sunset cruise with Trilogy. It was great, the crew was wonderful. Everyone welcomed us. We called before we went to Maui, tomake sure that it would not be seen as disrespectful for us to visit. We were told, please come.

  8. Aloha! I have a question about the Best Western Pioneer Inn that was in Lahaina. I understand it burned to the ground. We had checked into staying there some years ago but all the rooms were on the 2nd floor with no elevator so it didn’t work for us. My son uses a wheelchair. We did have breakfast there while we waited to board the ferries to Lanai and Molokai. There was a parrot there in a cage. I was wondering if anyone knows if the parrot died some time before the fire, during or if it’s still living? Mahalo.

    1. I don’t know the answer but it’s so nice of you to care. So many folks have lost pets, who are like children to a lot of us…I’m not there in maui now but lived through the 1989 earthquake in san fran/northern cali and lost soo much, almost killed running away from it and criminals. Mahalo for caring about the helpless.

  9. With the waffling around, it will be hard for people to get tickets to go to Maui. Nothing like getting your ticket bought and have Maui close the doors again. What about the business that plan on opening up and then find they are closed—yet. How can they get staff to come in and then not open. Make up your mind and stick to it!

  10. I’m thinking that if the locals don’t want to get back to work, people from the mainland are going to relocate to Maui and get those jobs, reason I say that is because I’m considering that option.

    1. Strongly recommend you have your “job” and living situation and budget all worked out before you buy a plane ticket

      Hawaii has the (?) highest cost of living in the US and salaries are low. My model is plantation and plantation workers.

      Then many jobs require extensive local knowledge or local connections

      Sorry to burst your dream bubble.

      No one is directly saying it, but the Maui economy (a tourist economy) is either in recession or depression.


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