Recently, I reported that West Maui would reopen to visitors on October 8. However, I also warned that plans could and would likely change. And guess what? They have. As the title of this post states, West Maui will reopen in phases now – not all at once.
Why the change? I guess it’s because the plan to move survivors out of hotels and into better long-term temporary housing hasn’t been going so well. According to Maui Mayor Richard Bissen, “the phased reopening will provide a more deliberate process in helping displaced residents with their housing needs as well as the opportunity for residents to return to work and help their keiki settle into temporary schools.”
Not much substance from his statement, but I’d expect nothing less. Don’t get me wrong, I think we should be doing whatever we can to support and care for survivors. However, Bissen has always been poor at communicating. So yeah.
West Maui Will Reopen in Phases
According to the most recent announcement, West Maui will reopen in phases to minimize the impact on displaced residents. What does this mean for visitors? Obviously, it means not all regions of West Maui will reopen on October 8 anymore. Lahaina was, naturally, always off the table. But now we know that the vast majority of the resort areas will remain closed. Thankfully, Maui County has now provided a West Maui reopening schedule:
- Phase 1
- Phase 2
- Area: Mahinahina to Maui Ka’anapali Villas, which is the area by Kapalua Airport down to the Aston Maui Ka’anapali Villas, just to the north of Black Rock
- When: TBD – after an assessment following Phase 1
- Phase 3
- Area: Royal Lahaina Resort to Hyatt Regency Maui, so basically, the hotel immediately to the south of the aforementioned Aston Maui Ka’anapali Villas down to the very end of Ka’anapali Resort.
- When: TBD after Phases 1 and 2. Maui County warns that this is where most survivors are currently housed, so this area may take longer to reopen
What struck me as really odd is that the Maui County press release mentions that small businesses are open in the area but that they encourage visitors to visit other regions of Maui outside of West Maui. So why announce an area’s reopening if you don’t want people there? And that goes against the narrative that Maui needs visitors – which it does. But, hey, not much of what Maui officials have been saying has been making sense.
It’s nice that we finally have a bit more of a plan now that we know that West Maui will reopen in phases. But, uh, county officials really need to hire some PR consultants, or, hell, a PR firm to handle all their communications. They really, REALLY suck at communicating. As we’ve seen throughout this disaster, all county officials have done is behave inappropriately and not communicate. So, while this plan is a step in the right direction, they still have a long way to go. Take this plan as an example. It’s so ambiguous? Why not at least give us conservative target dates? Now, area visitors and businesses have no way of predicting when their reopening will happen.