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West Maui reopens to tourists despite pushback from local government

Some locals say it's too soon to reopen as the community continues mourning the loss of loved ones and their homes and businesses.
West Maui reopens to tourists despite pushback from local government
Posted at 1:45 PM, Oct 08, 2023

Tourists can start returning to West Maui on Sunday, two months after devastating wildfires ripped through the region.

The move comes after Maui's mayor and Hawaii's governor moved forward with plans to reopen to help support the island's economy. But the decision did not come without pushback from the local government.

The Maui City Council unanimously voted on a resolution Friday urging Governor Josh Green to postpone the opening.

In a video message, Maui County Mayor Richard Bissen addressed the situation.

"I know we are still grieving, and it feels too soon. But the reality is there are those in our community who are ready to get back to work. Bills need to be paid, keiki have needs, and our kupuna face continued medical care,” Bissen said, using Hawaiian words for children and elders, according to The Associated Press.

Five West Maui hotels began accepting reservations again, and eight timeshare properties were opening in the region early this month, AP said.

Some locals have spoken out against reopening the island as they continue to grieve and grapple with the trauma of losing homes, businesses, and burying loved ones.

In August, wildfires tore through the Maui town of Lahaina and left nearly 100 people dead. Thirty people are still reported missing. Over 2,000 structures, many of which were homes and apartments, were completely destroyed in the fires.

SEE MORE: Being supportive or insensitive: Is now the time to go to Maui?

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