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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Customers can handle many tasks online, although service delays might occur

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Question: Where is the list of the things we can do online, without having to go the DMV?

Answer: To be clear, you seem to be referring to government transactions you can handle online, to achieve the “social distancing” that health officials advise in the COVID-19 era. The possibilities extend beyond the DMV.

For Honolulu County, you can find a list at, which also lists some state services. For state- level transactions, see and click on “online services.” There is some duplication in the lists at these two sites.

Among the possibilities are ordering copies of vital records such as birth certificates, renewing motor vehicle registrations, ordering personalized license plates, requesting building permits and much, much more.

As health authorities advise avoiding crowds and limiting errands to avoid catching or spreading the lethal coronavirus COVID-19, handling important tasks online from home is an increasingly popular option.

However, be forewarned that if city or state operations are disrupted, online services may be affected as well. Factors will include whether a government office is closed only to the public or also to staff, and, if offices are closed, whether employees are able to work remotely to keep government operations humming. The government response to COVID-19 is evolving rapidly. Check for updates.

Q: Does Hawaii have a law against price gouging?

A: Yes. Price increases are prohibited on vital commodities once the governor declares a state of emergency, per Hawaii Revised Statutes Section 127A-30. The prohibition applies at the wholesale and retail levels.

The law defines commodity as “any good or service necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of the people of Hawaii; provided that this term shall include, but not be limited to: materials; merchandise; supplies; equipment; resources; and other articles of commerce that shall include food; water; ice; chemicals; petroleum products; construction materials; or residential dwellings.”

There are some exceptions. For example, “if the merchant incurs additional expenses because of the disaster, and can document those expenses, price increases commensurate with those expenses are permitted,” according to the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.

Gov. Ige declared a statewide emergency over COVID-19 on March 4. His proclamation, which you can read at, mentioned a wide array of products and goods as being protected from price increases, including food, water, ice, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, toilet paper, hand sanitizer and many other products in high demand.

Q: I got the Census invitation and threw it out by mistake. What do I do?

A: Go to to fill out the questionnaire online. It should take about 10 minutes. You have to do it all in one sitting; you can’t save your responses and finish later.


We were shopping at Kailua Foodland at 11:50 a.m. Saturday and let a young man go in front of us because he had only one item to buy. What an unexpected surprise when we were ready to pay for our groceries and the cashier informed us that the gentleman had paid for our groceries. We heard of this happening to other people but didn’t expect it happening to us. We tried looking for him to thank him but couldn’t find him. We will pay it forward and wanted him to know what a blessing he was. Mahalo. — Two grateful seniors

Write to Kokua Line at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or email

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