comscore Kokua Line: Honolulu City Lights will be drive-by event, with no electric light parade or big holiday crowds | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Kokua Line: Honolulu City Lights will be drive-by event, with no electric light parade or big holiday crowds

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Question: Usually by now you have something about getting permits for Honolulu City Lights. Is that not happening?

Answer: The annual holiday festival known as Honolulu City Lights will be scaled way back this year, with no big gatherings due to the pandemic, according to the city. There won’t be an electric light parade, tree-lighting ceremony, holiday concert, booths and rides, photos with Santa, tree and wreath displays inside Honolulu Hale, or outdoor exhibits by nonprofit groups. (The application process for that last element is what we usually publicize this time of year).

Instead, the city is planning drive-by displays at Honolulu Hale and along King Street that would include Shaka Santa and Tutu Mele, the traditional 50-foot Christmas tree, other large, illuminated displays and holiday message boards from city departments, according to an announcement on the Department of Customer Services’ website.

“Getting back to normal will take some time and Honolulu City Lights will be different in the interim. The city is planning a King Street drive-by viewing experience for residents. Other activities will be shared online to complement drive-by viewing,” it said.

The celebration traditionally runs through the month of December.

Q: After all these months I finally had another road test scheduled and now it is canceled again! Will they at least give us priority for rescheduling?

A: Yes, Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Services will reschedule road tests for applicants when Oahu’s driver’s license centers reopen, according to its website. To be clear, this courtesy is only for people whose road tests were canceled, whether for a regular or commercial driver’s license. People who had appointments at a driver’s license center or satellite city hall for other tasks will have to make a new appointment themselves (at or try to handle the matter online, at a grocery-store kiosk, by mail or over the phone. Available methods vary according to the type of service needed; find details at Once on the site, click on the link that describes changes to operations.

The city announced Wednesday that Oahu’s driver’s license centers and satellite city halls would suspend in-person service for two weeks starting today, to comply with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s emergency “stay-at-home, work-at-home” order.

All appointments scheduled for today through Sept. 9 have been canceled, coinciding with the initial duration of the mayor’s order, which is intended to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Work will continue behind the scenes, with employees processing a backlog of work, including driver’s license and state ID renewals and motor vehicle registrations and transfers, as well as handling new transactions submitted online, by kiosk or by mail during the closure.

More information can be found on the department’s website, but if you do need to call, the city is increasing the number of people answering the phones. For questions about state IDs and driver’s licenses, call 768-9100. For questions about motor vehicle registrations, call 768-4325.

As we said, appointments were canceled only for two weeks, although further cancellations would occur if the mayor’s order is extended. Likewise, appointments for after the order is lifted will be honored as scheduled, the city said — people shouldn’t get bumped.

The city said it would try to prioritize rescheduling for all people whose appointments were canceled, but will actually make the appointment only for road tests, according to the website. Saturday road tests may be an option; we await details on that possibility.

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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