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Hawaii NewsKokua Line

Kokua Line: Can I leave quarantine when the travel rule changes?

Question: I am scheduled to return to Hawaii on Monday, the day before the vaccine exception takes effect. If I cancel my COVID-19 test and self- quarantine instead, will they let me out on Tuesday?

Answer: No. Travelers in quarantine before Hawaii’s rules change on Tuesday must finish out their 10 days of quarantine, even if they are fully vaccinated against COVID- 19 and received their vaccination in Hawaii, according to the state of Hawaii’s COVID-19 portal, hawaiicovid19.com.

The same is true of interisland travelers subject to quarantine in Maui, Kauai and Hawaii counties before the intercounty travel quarantine is lifted altogether on Tuesday, according to the website.

Maj. (Ret.) Jeff Hickman, a spokesman for the state Department of Defense, confirmed this in an email Thursday, saying, “The status that you are under at the time of your arrival is not negated by a future change in policy. Therefore, if you arrive on the 14th and must quarantine, you must complete the applicable period of quarantine regardless of the new policy that is effective beginning on the 15th.”

Pre-travel testing remains an option for travelers ineligible to avoid quarantine by another means.

Q: What is the cutoff for being “fully vaccinated”?

A: “Travelers are considered fully vaccinated on the 15th day after the completion of their vaccine,” according to the state Department of Health.

Q: Will nonvaccinated keiki ages 5 to 11 be allowed to travel intercounty (neighbor island) without a COVID-19 test after Tuesday?

A: Yes, the intercounty quarantine is being lifted for all travelers as of that date.

Q: The city is no longer doing mail-in license renewal for drivers 72 and older, and the governor says it’s unlikely he will extend licenses past Aug. 6. Given these developments, when will the city lift the “3-month” rule on AlohaQ appointments? By law we are supposed to be able to renew our licenses six months in advance.

A: You are referring to the fact that Honolulu County’s appointment system (alohaq.org) won’t let a person make an appointment to renew their Hawaii driver’s license if the expiration date is more than three months away; this restriction was imposed during the pandemic. There’s no plan to lift it, said Eddie Oi, a spokesman for Honolulu County’s Department of Customer Serv­ices. Here’s his full emailed response:

“HRS S286-107 states, ‘the examiner of drivers may accept an application for a renewal of a driver’s license made not more than six months prior to the date of expiration.’ This language indicates the earliest date for and the period for driver’s license renewal.

“The city does not plan to lift the expiration checker at this time. The expiration checker, on AlohaQ, is in place to give priority to those with expired licenses and IDs or will expire within three months. We have added standby service and daily appointment additions to accommodate all customers six months in advance of the expiration date if they cannot book an appointment on AlohaQ.

“Additional AlohaQ appointments are made available each business day after 3:30 p.m. due to last-minute cancellations and no-shows for bookings on the following day at three locations — the Kapolei, Koolau and Kapa­- lama driver licensing centers. For the Kapalama location, click on the Limited Renewal Appointments button on the AlohaQ Appointments page.

“For those with an urgent need to renew, no appointment is needed for the city’s standby service at the Kapalama, Kapolei, Koolau, Wahiawa and Waianae driver licensing centers, and four satellite city halls — Downtown, Hawaii Kai, Pearlridge and Windward City Mall. The number of standby service slots are based on the number of canceled and no-show appointments at each of these locations. Same-day service cannot be guaranteed as those with AlohaQ appointments have priority.”

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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