Hāna, Maui – Senate Majority Leader J. Kalani English (Hāna, East and Upcountry Maui, Moloka‘i, Lana‘i and Kaho‘olawe) announced today that public restrooms along the Hana Highway will remain closed until further notice while the highway is restricted to local traffic only.
“The Hana Highway is closed to slow the spread of COVID-19 into the remote East Maui community, where supplies are limited and emergency medical help is very far away,” said Senator English. “No one should be using the highway except for East Maui residents needing emergency assistance and life-saving necessities not available in Hana.”
The State Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks maintains two restrooms along the Hana Highway at Kaumahina and Pua‘aka‘a Wayside parks that are now closed until further notice. In addition, Waiʻānapanapa State Park and its restrooms are also closed due to COVID-19.
A medical professional advised officials that it was dangerous to leave the restrooms open in a remote location where it is not possible to sanitize them frequently. One infected person could use the bathroom and would have the potential to infect other people who come in.
“These remotely located public restrooms are not safe to open,” said Senator English. “They could become a location where the virus spreads to our residents and endangers our kupuna. And keeping them open would encourage continued illegal use of the highway by tourists.”
Mayor Mike Victorino also announced last month that the Piʻilani Highway, the backside of Hana is closed to all non-residents of East Maui as an emergency measure to slow the spread of COVID-19. He later announced a stay-at-home order for everyone in Maui County.
“I know there are kupuna who want to use these restrooms when they must make the long trip into town, but they are the very people who should be avoiding contact with these public toilets,” said Senator English. “We are sorry for this hardship, but the consequences of leaving them open would be much more severe.
“We strongly discourage residents from driving into town for grocery shopping and socializing. Every time you go to town, you are risking the health of everyone in our community if you bring the virus back with you to East Maui. Please support our local businesses and keep your neighbors safe by getting the supplies you need in Hana. And if you do need to go to the other side of the island, go directly to your destination and don’t stop along the way. Working together, we can slow the curve and keep one another safe.”