State officials said Tuesday that the Diamond Head State Monument is expected to reopen Thursday.

The attraction, one of Hawaii’s most popular, has been closed for months because of the pandemic.

There will be new rules in place limiting access, however, DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said in a press release.

“Closing the park was easy,” he said. “Reopening Diamond Head is complicated due to a variety of factors including the shared use of the crater by the Hawaii Department of Defense and Hawai Emergency Management Agency.”

The view from the top of Diamond Head, pre-pandemic. It’s set to reopen this week. Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The park will be closed Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week due to limited staffing, “to assess health and safety protocols, and to conduct additional maintenance and upkeep.”

It will also be closed on the Christmas and New Years Day holidays.

Visitors will experience “significant changes,” such as a new traffic control system at the Kahala Tunnel with single lane traffic regulated by traffic lights, “providing more space to accommodate pedestrian access.”

There are also “slight changes to the hiking experience” to the top of Diamond Head due to COVID protocols:

“Visitors must always wear masks in the park and attempt to stay six feet apart from other hikers. State Parks has installed new signs to remind visitors of all public health safety requirements and occupancy limits at the viewpoints along the trail (look for painted boot prints on the concrete). Staff is also asking visitors to be considerate all along the trail and at the summit and to not linger long for photos to avoid clogging the trail and viewpoints.”

The Division of State Parks lost nearly $1 million dollars of revenue from the extended closure of Diamond Head.

“An increase in fees for non-residents is expected to support economic recovery, but until Hawaii’s visitor industry improves significantly, there’s no way to predict when the funding shortfall can be made up,” says DLNR.

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