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Go To MAUI...Yes or No? Get your answer here.

Should you or should you not go to Maui???? I know. It's confusing. Social media makes it even more challenging to know what to do. You want to be respectful, you want to support the people and the island, but you also want to enjoy yourselves without feeling guilty. I get it. You are paying A LOT of money to visit Maui, so want to make sure your trip will be worth it You've got questions and we've got answers.

QUESTION- Is the West Side of Maui closed? ANSWER- Yes, for now. West Maui is not all gone, but it cannot function if people cannot access the area. With one way in and one way out, access is limited to those who NEED to get there. Recovery efforts are still happening. The water and air are not safe. Thousands of homes and businesses burned to the ground. People are living in the hotels, but the hotels are not functioning as hotels. The hotels are now shelters. Grassroots relief efforts are providing people to provide food and provisions, as well as people to do the cooking and cleaning. Some people are moving off island indefinitely. West Maui will definitely be in the assessment stage for a long time. How long? We don't know. it will take a while to get everyone placed.

QUESTION- Were other parts of Maui affected by the hurricane and fires?

ANSWERS- Yes. People living upcountry in Kula also lost homes. Businesses also burned down or were damaged. Access in that area is limited. North Kihei also experienced some fires.

QUESTION- How many people live on Maui? ANSWER- Approximately 165,000 live on Maui island. The population is very spread out, and access to various areas of the island can be challenging. However, everyone is working together to accommodate everyone impacted by the recent devastating events, and to get Maui functioning in some capacity.

QUESTION- I hear the West side is closed but Maui is open. Is that true? ANSWER- Kind of. Maui is still in operation, however what transpired in Lahaina and Kula still affect the other parts of the island. Maui's work force was already devastated by Covid, as well as everyone's bank accounts. The island was shut down for 18 months and Maui was just beginning to recover from that. People who live on the West side may have jobs elsewhere on the island. However, they now have NO transportation because their cars burned down with their homes. They've lost everything. So, they can't get to work. While the West side has not entirely been damaged from the fire, the infrastructure has been seriously damaged. Power and cell service is only now in the process of being restored, the water and air are unsafe, businesses are not running, .and roads offer limited access.

So, is Maui open? Yes. It is open, just in a different way. It is possible to visit Maui and have an amazing time. It will not be the kind of time you would have had before this awfulness occurred, because businesses everywhere on Maui are impacted by what has happened. It will take Maui a long time to recover and rebuild, but the people living on Maui will never be able to survive without Maui visitors. Most businesses and employment on Maui are hospitality and service-related. If you cancel your trip to Maui, then the people who remain cannot survive. That means Maui will never recover and rebuild, and it will never be here for you at all. QUESTION-How can I be a respectful visitor to Maui so I can enjoy my vacation and give back to the island?

ANSWER- Being a respectful visitor to Maui is exactly what Maui needs from you. People on Maui who have nothing will give you the shirts from their bodies if you show you respect them and the island. Respecting Maui and its people does not even need to cost you anything. You can volunteer a little of your time while visiting to the relief efforts. You can learn about Maui's culture. Maybe spend time helping on a farm in Kula for a day. Help with animal rescues and shelters. Learn to hula, play ukulele, speak some Hawaiian words, or listen to stories from anyone of our amazing locals in shelters. Play with the kids in the shelters. Help plant some trees to reforest the land. Share your talents with the locals. Enjoy a visit to the Hui No'eau and maybe participate in an activity there. Support by purchasing MAUI STRONG merchandise from a local business that promotes Lahaina's rebuild. Maybe you can sponsor counseling for those affected, especially the children. Kainoa says it perfectly...If you're on Maui go support a locally-owned business. If you're not on Maui go online and buy something directly from a locally owned business. And don't go rubberneck in Lahaina, give people the dignity and privacy they're asking for. Treat people with love and aloha. I think one of the best things you can do is be kind, sensitive, patient, grateful, and forgiving. Service may be a bit slower and the inventory may not be as full, but I always say that nice goes a long way. Show the locals some aloha and they will go above and beyond to make sure your Maui experience is amazing. Stimulate the economy by shopping local shops and stores, eating at local eateries, and participating in offered activities. Your support and positivity will be the most comforting to everyone and they may offer their stories without even being asked. However, keep in mind that while your questions about the fires are coming from a place of caring and sensitivity, some may not be willing or able to tell their stories because they are still processing and grieving.

QUESTION- WHEN can we visit Maui and WHERE can we go?

ANSWER- Beginning in September, please bring your kindsness and patience to...

South Maui-Kihei, Wailea, Makena

Central Maui- Kahului, Wailuku, Ma'alea North Shore- Paia, Ku'au, Haiku

Upcountry- Makawao, Lower Kula, Ulupalakua

East Side- Hana, Kipahulu

QUESTION- I am supposed to get married on Maui and am wondering if I should cancel my wedding. What should I do?

ANSWER- Please check with your venue and vendors if they are still available. If your wedding is on West Maui, there are venues on other parts of the island that are available with open arms. Your wedding coordinator should be able to help you. If you do not have one, now is the time to hire one. Feel free to contact Tori at @celebrationsbytori to see if she can help you or refer you to someone who can. She may even be able to suggest a location for you to consider. There are still many wedding professionals on island who want to work and help you. So, please don't cancel. We can not only make this work for you, we can make it FABULOUS!!!

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