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Hawaii News | Kokua Line

Kokua Line: Oahu’s driver’s license centers and satellite city halls to reopen Thursday for appointments

Question: I made an appointment months ago to renew my driver’s license. It’s on Thursday. Will the DMV be open by then?

Answer: Yes. Oahu’s driver’s licensing centers and satellite city halls will reopen for in-person serv­ice that day, with the lifting of the island’s lockdown order. Anyone with an appointment scheduled from Thursday on should keep it, said Sheri Kajiwara, director of the city’s Department of Customer Services.

Besides driver’s license renewals, we hear daily from readers who need to obtain a state ID card, take a road test, transfer a license from out of state or complete many other essential tasks that were disrupted when in-person service was suspended to comply with Mayor Kirk Caldwell’s “Second Stay at Home/Work From Home” mandate, which was ordered to thwart the spread of COVID-19.

More than 34,000 appointments were canceled, although staff continued to work behind the scenes, processing what they could online and by mail. Such services are limited, constrained by state law.

Customers whose appointments were canceled from Aug. 27 through today have gotten or will get a call to reschedule, including for road tests. Others can make their own appointment at alohaQ.org.

Kajiwara said the city was striving to accommodate people whose appointments were canceled by offering extended hours through the end of the year. The driver’s license centers will open an hour earlier and close an hour later and be open on Saturdays, all by appointment. Satellite city halls also will offer extended hours, but those extensions will vary by location; service there also will be by appointment. Face masks and physical distancing are required.

Meanwhile, there’s no word yet whether the governor will further extend the expiration dates of state IDs and driver’s licenses that Hawaii residents have been unable to renew during the pandemic. As of deadline Tuesday his most recent emergency proclamation lasts only through Sept. 30 and, as far as driver’s licenses and state IDs are concerned, covers only those that expired or will expire from March 16 through Tuesday.

Numerous readers whose licenses expire in October said they couldn’t get an appointment to renew until December; they had tried to renew earlier but were stymied by two lengthy DMV closures during the pandemic.

Others point out that a valid (unexpired) license is needed not only to drive, but that it (or a valid state ID) also serves as the government-issued ID needed to access various pandemic relief programs. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a new state rental relief program and “pop-up” food distribution events scheduled after Sept. 30 were some of the examples mentioned. We confirmed that all ask potential recipients to supply a valid, government-issued ID to determine eligibility.

The governor is expected to issue another emergency proclamation, a spokeswoman said, but she did not say when or indicate what would be in it. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office did not return our call and emails by deadline.

About 60,000 Hawaii driver’s licenses alone have expired or are due to expire within the next 12 weeks in Honolulu County, the city has said.

Q: Are they restarting the road tests the first day?

A: Yes. Road tests for driver’s licenses, including commercial driver’s licenses, will resume Thursday. If you have an appointment, keep it. For more information, see honolulu.gov/csd.

Q: Regarding the lifting of the quarantine for people who get tested, does that apply to Hawaii residents, too? I mean, when we fly home.

A: Yes. But to be clear, you would have to meet the same requirements as an incoming traveler who lives elsewhere. You’d have to get an acceptable test within the allowed time period and present the negative test result upon arrival. Read more at hawaiicovid19.com/travel/#travel-FAQs.


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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