State and Region briefs for March 27

Maui residents stopping travel on Hana Highway

WAILUKU, Maui — Maui residents are using signs and checkpoints to help enforce a government order to keep visitors off Hana Highway during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

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Gov. David Ige instructed the state Department of Transportation on March 18 to limit access along the highway on Maui’s eastern coast.

Ige limited use of the highway between Kaupakalua Road in Haiku and Hana to residents, first responders and delivery trucks until further notice.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino also closed the Piilani Highway to nonresidents from Hana to Ulupalakua and the Kahekili Highway from Waihee to Kahakuloa Village.

There was no significant decrease in visitors on Hana Highway for recreational purposes since the restriction was announced, said Napua Hueu, director of the Hana Highway Regulation committee.

Residents have painted their own signs to discourage recreational travel along the highway, Hueu said.

“It is imperative we reduce nonessential, recreational visitor travel along the Hana Highway to safeguard the health of our rural communities,” Hueu said.

Kailua, Keanae and Nahiku residents were also seen asking nonresident vehicles on Hana Highway to turn around.

The Hana Highway Regulation committee planned to establish two checkpoints Wednesday on the highway.

Democratic State Sen. J. Kalani English, who represents the area, said large numbers of rental cars travel Hana Highway on a typical day.

“We cannot have thousands of tourists from around the world causing traffic and entering closed parks, coming into contact with one another and our residents,” English said.

Guam governor suspends public meeting rights

HAGATNA, Guam — The governor of Guam temporarily suspended some parts of the Open Government Law in response to the coronavirus outbreak, including the public’s right to attend government meetings.

Democratic Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero signed the executive order Tuesday to suspend open meeting rights through April 13.

Guam Attorney General Leevin Taitano Camacho recommended suspending sections of the Open Government Law, Leon Guerrero said.

Boards and commissions in the U.S. territory will be required to keep minutes and provide meeting information to the governor, lawmakers and the Office of Public Accountability.

The governor is authorized by Guam law to suspend the operating rules for government agencies during a public health emergency, she said.

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Guam declared a health emergency because of the coronavirus outbreak, closing schools and businesses and placing arriving travelers under quarantine. Residents have been asked to practice social distancing.

Guam had 37 confirmed cases of the virus and one death as of Wednesday, officials said.

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