Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wednesday, May 29, 2024 76° Today's Paper

Hawaii NewsKokua Line

Kokua Line: No word yet on reopening DMV and other government agencies

Question: When are the DMVs and satellite city halls going to reopen? The mayor talks about reopening certain businesses but says nothing about government agencies. These agencies are essential and the online services are limited. There should be a way to reopen them with social-distancing measures in place. If Costco can be open and figure out a way to operate safely, the government should be able to function, too!

Answer: “There has been no determination made as yet on the re- opening of driver licensing or satellite city hall centers. We will be following the mayor’s directives and will share decisions with Kokua Line as they become available,” said Sheri Kajiwara, director of Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Services.

Although those offices closed to the public, staff remain at work behind the scenes. Numerous services are available online or by mail. Find more information at honolulu.gov/csd.

We have received many queries from people who lack regular internet access, either because they don’t have smartphones or because they formerly used a computer at a public library; Hawaii’s public libraries also are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Those readers should be able to get some help over the phone, although it may be more limited than the services available online. In Honolulu County, for information about driver licenses and state IDs, call 768-9100 during regular business hours. For information about other serv­ices available from satellite city halls, call 768-3798, also during regular business hours.

Many readers have asked a similar question about the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, saying that the department should figure out a way to provide in- person assistance for people who lack internet access or who are having trouble filling out unemployment insurance forms online.

Countless readers have called or emailed Kokua Line saying that they cannot get through to the labor department by phone or email. Many of them said keeping the DLIR closed to in-person visits obscures the scope of the problems facing Hawaii’s unemployed. They implored government officials and elected leaders to act with greater urgency to clear the backlog of unpaid claims and unprocessed applications.

As one caller put it, “If that office was open, there would be thousands and thousands of people down there, even if we had to stand 6 feet apart. Maybe then the politicians would pay attention.”

Many callers emphasized that the pandemic has decimated Hawaii’s private sector, more so than government work. One said, “If I have one more person tell me, ‘We’re all in this together,’ I am going to scream. I cannot pay my bills. Can you pay your bills? If you can, we are not all in this together.”

We share these comments to let readers know that we hear you.

We emailed a DLIR spokesman asking when the office might reopen, with appropriate social- distancing measures in place, but did not receive a reply by deadline.

Q: We have tickets to “Jersey Boys” in early May and haven’t heard a word. What’s going on?

A: This musical, which had been scheduled to run May 5-17 at Blaisdell Center, is listed on the venue’s website as being rescheduled, but the new dates have not been announced.

We’ve heard from numerous other ticket holders who want their money back, regardless. You can find more information about the refund process for this and other shows at blaisdellcenter.com. The quickest route to a refund seems to be through your credit card company, if you charged the tickets.

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 kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

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