LIHUE — Visitors should stay away from North Shore areas still recovering from the recent flood disaster, even though most of the island is open.
“We’re actually working on a new map to put out to the visitors, so it’s really clear what’s open and what’s closed,” said Visitors Bureau Executive Director, Sue Kanoho.
Beginning Friday, one lane of Kuhio Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha has been open for vehicle access to local area residents only from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily; visitors do not have access.
More than 100 vehicles traveled through the 2-mile single lane of Kūhiō Highway between Waikoko and Wainiha, during that first day of re-opening the highway to residents only.
“Visitors are encouraged to experience the North Shore communities of Princeville and Hanalei (town), and other areas of the Garden Island,” said Kauai Visitors Bureau in a Friday statement.
Visitors should also know that Hanalei Beach Park around Black Pot Beach is currently closed due to safety concerns.
“At this point, it’s best for visitors to avoid the Wainiha/Haena area until they recover,” Kanoho said. “But Hanalei Town is open for business.”
An emergency rule and order has been issued prohibiting the operation of Transient Vacation Rentals in the Lumahai, Wainiha, Haena area and limiting accessibility to the area until at least May 31.
“Some visitors are being re-booked elsewhere on the other sides of the island,” Kanoho said.
Access in the areas is limited to residents, county, state and federal governmental employees and contractors, utility providers, disaster responders, infrastructure constructors.
Any person violating this emergency rule and order will be guilty of a misdemeanor crime.
“The safety of our residents and visitors is of our utmost priority, and we must be patient as our work in the affected, isolated areas continue,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr. “We are focusing our efforts to assist our local residents, so that they have access to the resources they need now.”
The Hawaii Tourism Authority is also helping with relief efforts, currently supporting a Wainiha/Haena shuttle for residents.
“Mahalo to everyone for your work to bring back a sense of normalcy to our community,” Carvalho said.
John Steinhorst, reporter, can be reached at 245-0435 or email@example.com.