Mandel Ngan Agence France-Presse West Maui has about 11,000 hotel rooms, about half of those on the island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Travelers evacuated these hotels after the Aug. 8 fire raged through the city of Lahaina, killing at least 99 people and destroying more than 2,000 buildings.
All of West Maui, except burned sections of historic Lahaina, will reopen to tourists on November 1, following the deadliest wildfire in the United States in over of a century, the Maui County mayor announced Monday.
Mayor Richard Bissen said he made the decision after discussing it with his Lahaina advisory team, the Red Cross and other partners.
West Maui has about 11,000 hotel rooms, about half of those on the island in the Hawaiian archipelago. Travelers evacuated these hotels after the Aug. 8 fire raged through the town of Lahaina, killing at least 99 people and destroying more than 2,000 buildings.
Hawaii Gov. Josh Green said last month that West Maui would officially reopen to tourism on Oct. 8 to bring back much-needed jobs and help the economy recover. Mr. Bissen amended the governor's statement with a phased plan, allowing a small section on the northern edge of West Maui to open first, with the remainder to follow at an undetermined date.
< The community had a heated debate over when to welcome travelers to the disaster area. Some residents wrote a petition opposing the return of tourists, saying the community was not ready.
Maui fire victims are not ready for the return of tourists
Bissen said Monday that workers are ready to return to their jobs while acknowledging that “it's not for everyone.”
Those who are not ready to return to work on the 1st November should talk to their employers and “continue to seek the help and attention they need,” Bissen said at a news conference in Lahaina, streamed online.
The mayor said many residents are also concerned about not having child care for their children. He said the county's partners are working on this issue.
Residents who were staying in West Maui hotels and other short-term lodging after losing their homes in the fire will not lose their housing, said the mayor.
“The Red Cross assures us that their housing will not be threatened,” said Mr. Bissen.
The mayor stated that the reopening schedule was voluntary and that some properties had already reopened on their own.