Hawaii reopens scenic Pali Lookout after coronavirus closure

HONOLULU — The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources reopened a popular scenic spot on Oahu that has been closed to visitors since the outbreak of the coronavirus.

The Nuuanu Pali State Wayside, popularly known as Pali Lookout, was closed to the public at the outset of the pandemic because of budgetary constraints and crowding concerns.

There were challenges in maintaining physical distancing at the lookout, State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said.

Officials announced the park, which is is among the most visited spots on Oahu, reopened Wednesday with daily hours of 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The gates to the park’s access roads will be unlocked and secured daily by the Honolulu Police Department.

The state set new parking fees of $7 per vehicle for nonresidents. Hawaii residents are not subject to parking and entry fees at any state parks.

Tour buses are largely absent from the lookout, making the volume of visitors is much lower. Prior to the pandemic, Pali Lookout’s parking fees generated about $250,000 annually in revenue, Cottrell said.

The Hawaii Division of State Parks is now losing about $500,000 in revenue monthly in entrance, parking, concession, lodging and camping fees because of health restrictions related to the coronavirus.

Officials asked visitors to follow social distancing guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It’s really nice to be able to come back,” said Alexis Gomes of Kaaawa, who brought her children and a visiting family friend to take in the reopened views.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

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