Maui Coronavirus Updates

Maui Mayor Makes Another Request to Ease Restrictions, Details are Forthcoming

By Wendy Osher
October 29, 2021, 7:17 PM HST
* Updated October 31, 10:28 AM
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Maui Mayor Michael Victorino. PC: Office of Gov. David Ige. (file April 20, 2021)

Request to Ease Restrictions Submitted
If Granted, Effective Date Would be Nov. 5

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino has submitted another request to Governor David Ige to amend the County of Maui Public Health Emergency Rules. This comes as COVID-19 case counts are decreasing, the hospitalization rate is much lower, and test positivity rate remains low.

In Maui County, the seven day average for new COVID-19 cases daily is 13, with a 1.7% test positivity rate over 14 days. Hospitalizations dropped on Maui to three individuals today.

Managing Director Sandy Baz said details will come later, as the administration does not normally announce anything until after the governor approves it. He said he hopes to have something in place by next week. If approved, the requested start date for amended rules would be on Friday, Nov. 5, 2021.

On Oct. 18, we asked the Mayor at what point he felt capacity restrictions could be eased at restaurants, bars and other high risk businesses. He responded: “We still have to be very careful. I will say that we have a number of matrix that we are looking at. First of all there’s the hospitalization and medical facilities. Vaccination rates are very important also. And the various mandates that companies are asking their employees as well as their patrons to be fully vaccinated. These are the areas where I’ll keep a solid eye on, and then make decisions accordingly.”

Leisure Travel Resumes Nov. 1;
Federal Plans for International Travel Expected in November

Leisure travel restarts on Monday, Nov. 1, as Gov. Ige gave the green light to non-essential travel after previously urging a delay until the end of this month. The federal government also announced plans for a new travel policy that requires vaccination for foreign national travelers to the United States in Nov. 

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“He has welcomed back visitors and has been working with the county mayors on what that means,” said Baz.

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We asked Mayor Victorino his thoughts on the return of non-essential travel to the state and the return of international travel.

“We’ve never really been a high destination for international travel, and especially from the Far East–Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines–we have some, but not a great deal. So we still, our primary markets for Maui County have been the West Coast and US Mainland travelers. So I’m looking for some uptick in that area, but not a lot like Oʻahu and some others [like] Kona on the Big Island where they have the entry points and a lot more of the international travelers come in,” said Mayor Victorino earlier this month.

“As far as essential workers, and some of the reductions in federal mandates, the state still has Safe Travels, so I’m counting on that to help protect our county and our community throughout the changes… as the visitor industry starts to come back and the holiday season [approaches], we’ll do it safely and with respect,” said Mayor Victorino.

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Managing Director Baz said he expects the Safe Travels program to be in place “for quite a while.” In a Tuesday press briefing Baz said, “Lieutenant Governor [Josh] Green has said that despite the statewide vaccination rate of 73%, the program will be extended at least through the end of the holiday season.”

Community Invited to Weigh in on Maui Nui Destination Management

The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority and Hawaiʻi Visitors and Convention Bureau is launching a series of public meetings to discuss the Maui Nui Destination Management Action Plan. Meetings for Maui Island will be held Tuesday, Nov. 2; and Lānaʻi on Tuesday, Nov. 9.

The HTA and MVCB are postponing the DMAP meetings for the island of Molokaʻi. Originally planned for Friday, Nov. 12, 2021, the virtual community meetings for Molokaʻi residents will be rescheduled to a later date.

“The industry continues to make steady progress towards its Destination Management Plan. They want to hear from the community on each island in Maui County about how to care for the places and traditions we cherish most. Topics for discussion include updates to the plan, specific actions taken on each island, community enrichment programs, the Mālama Hawaiʻi program, and visitor statistics.”

“It’s very important for the community to participate in these discussions as we prepare to welcome visitors back. The meetings will be virtual on Zoom and will be held at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. each day for each island. Registration links are available here.

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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