HONOLULU - Federal and state authorities said Thursday that they will shut down some Waikiki roads and prohibit swimmers from the ocean in front of several major hotels when President Barack Obama and other heads of state are in town for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting next month.
Aside from APEC participants, only residents and employees will be allowed in restricted areas. The restricted zones are primarily around the Hilton and Hale Koa hotels and will be in place for 24 hours starting at 11 p.m. Nov. 11.
Honolulu police and other city officials have spent the past year working with the Secret Service, State Department and other federal authorities to prepare for the arrival of leaders from 21 nations and economies. The conference will attract corporate heads for a CEO summit as well as journalists who will be covering the talks.
"The APEC summit is probably the most significant global event Honolulu has hosted in recent history," Honolulu Mayor Peter Carlisle said at a news conference. He added: "The City and County of Honolulu is prepared, and we are ready to show off our city to the world."
The security restrictions mean Hawaii Hot Spots surf school, which operates from Duke Kahanamoku Beach fronting the Hilton, won't be allowed to offer lessons Nov. 12. But that's OK with Theodora Kane, the company's vice president.
"I understand the reason for it, and how important it is. The last thing we would want to have happen here is something bad. It reflects upon everybody," Kane said.
Initially, the Coast Guard had proposed closing the ocean in front of the Hilton to ships and swimmers for the entire week of Nov. 9-16, so Kane said she was happy to hear it would last only one day.
Most people will probably be more inconvenienced by the lane closures and traffic on roads around Waikiki. Still, she's happy the state is hosting the event.
"To me, it's really like an honor that we get this opportunity to showcase who and what we are. We are probably the most unique and beautiful spot on the planet - and the safest," Kane said.
Similar rules will be imposed at Ko Olina Resort on Oahu's west side, where the leaders will meet on the conference's second day. Those restrictions will be in place from late Nov. 12 through the next day.
Roads near the Hawaii Convention Center - including Atkinson Drive, and part of Kapiolani Boulevard - will be closed for four days from Nov. 8-11 when APEC finance ministers and CEOs meet.
The State Department, Honolulu police, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service and the Federal Aviation Administration announced the rules in a press release. Airplane and helicopter flights will also be limited.
Authorities will close off some lanes of Ala Moana Boulevard to only APEC traffic and will close some lanes of Kalakaua Avenue. Only APEC traffic will be allowed on parts of Saratoga and Kalia roads. Some city buses will be temporarily rerouted.