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Victorino: News of bars, theaters reopening maybe next week

Ige gave OK for opening of those sectors on Oahu

WAILUKU — Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino is expected to announce timelines next week for the reopening of additional businesses, including bars and movie theaters.

On Oahu, such businesses will be allowed to reopen this month under an order approved by Gov. David Ige.

Asked Friday about the prospects for reopening similar businesses, as well as indoor and outdoor events and gatherings in Maui County, Victorino said he was awaiting approval from the governor.

“We have sent in our revised policies in compliance with what the governor has stated for Oahu, and we’re awaiting his approval,” Victorino said during his daily COVID-19 briefing. “Once he approves that, then we will be making that announcement on what specific timelines we will be opening up those amenities for Maui County.”

Asked after the briefing if the reopenings would be allowed as soon as next week, Maui County spokesman Chris Sugidono confirmed the reopenings wouldn’t happen next week.

Victorino also said he was working “behind the scenes” with state legislators, the governor and others to try to resolve Young Brothers’ proposals for cutbacks and its emergency request for $25 million in CARES Act federal funding because of COVID-19-related shipping reductions.

The shipping company is requesting that the Public Utilities Commission halt shipments of containers that are less than full to major ports, except for Molokai and Lanai, in its first phase of proposals to deal with financial shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the federal subsidy is a state issue, Victorino said, “We look upon it favorably to assist them financially.”

“The challenge we face is how much and when does the need stop,” he said. “We cannot reduce services ’cause it is the only real lifeline we have between the main shipping destination, which is Oahu, and all the Neighbor Islands, especially our small ports.”

As for the reopening of Maui Motor Sports Park in Puunene, Sugidono said all park permits were canceled for the month of June, including those issued at the park that encompasses Maui RC Modelers, Maui Motocross, Maui Raceway Park, Paradise Speedway Maui, Sports Car Club of America and Maui Go-Karts.

“When the raceway park was opened on June 1, it was to allow for maintenance and no activity,” Sugidono said. “They were all informed that they could take this time to prepare for reopening at a later date.”

That didn’t appear to be the understanding of the Maui Motocross Association, which posted on its Instagram page that the organization had spent the weekend getting the park ready after last week receiving “the go ahead” to open Monday from the mayor’s office. The opening was planned for Wednesday afternoon with social distancing procedures before the county parks department called that morning to say the park couldn’t reopen until July 1, according to the post.

“Skate parks, beaches, restaurants, hair salons are all open. Why not us?” the post said. “Especially, when we were told we could open. Makes zero sense!”

The post urged people to send email to the mayor’s office.

On Thursday, a total of 129 people arrived at Kahului Airport on three flights, a high-water mark for arrivals. Of the arrivals, 50 were visitors and 61 were returning residents.

There were nine new cases of COVID-19 reported in Hawaii on Friday — one of them on Maui. That case was an older case, a result of “data cleaning,” the Joint Information Center said. The Maui case and two others fell into the same category.

The six other cases were reported on Oahu.

Maui’s total confirmed cases is 118 with two on Molokai and none on Lanai. Six of the state’s 17 deaths have occurred on Maui.

* Lila Fujimoto can be reached at lfujimoto@mauinews.com.

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