Maunakea Visitor Information Station temporarily closed due to COVID-19 concerns

The closure is being done as a health and safety measure as many other operations around the state and the world are conducting similar closures.

Building made of lava rock, with rock walls surrounding the structure, with the sign: Onizuka Center for International Astronomy, Visitor Information.
Maunakea Visitor Information Station

The Maunakea Visitor Information Station (VIS) on Hawai‘i Island will suspend operations starting Sunday March 15, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 situation.

The closure is being done as a health and safety measure as many other operations around the state and the world are conducting similar closures. The closure is effective as of 6:00 p.m. March 15.

“We understand that the Visitor Information Center is helpful to those who visit Maunakea,” says Stewart Hunter, general manager of Maunakea Observatory Support Services. “However, we want to be prudent for the welfare of our visitors and our staff during this extraordinary time. We appreciate the understanding of the public.”

The parking lot will remain open as well as the portable toilets there. While the mountain remains open to the public, officials encourage everyone to follow health department recommendations on social distancing and protection.

VIS administrators will continue to meet and discuss the latest developments to determine when they should reopen and resume operations.

During normal operation, the visitor station is open seven days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm, with interpretive guides and Maunakea rangers to answer questions. Restrooms are available twenty-four hours daily. During the day, a solar telescope is available for viewing the sun.

The center is managed by the Office of Maunakea Management, which reports directly to the chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo.