COVID-19 Assistance For Homeowners & Renters

Mortgage payment forbearance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides relief for homeowners with government-guaranteed mortgages.  Homeowners with mortgages backed by the FHA, USDA, VA, HUD Section 184a, Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac are eligible for loan forbearance for up to one year without fees, penalties or additional interest. 

Homeowners who are facing a financial hardship, either directly or indirectly, from the coronavirus may receive the forbearance by submitting a request to their servicer stating they are experiencing a hardship related to the virus.  The forbearance will be granted for 180 days and may be extended for up to another 180 days at the borrower’s request.

Homeowners in need of the forbearance should reach out to their mortgage servicers as soon as possible or contact a HUD approved housing counselor.  Contact information for a homeowner’s mortgage servicer can be found in monthly mortgage statements or coupon book.  The nearest housing counselor can be found at www.consumerfinance.gov/find-a-housing-counselor or by calling (800) 569-4287.

Foreclosure relief 

Homeowners with FHA, USDA, VA, or Section 184 or 184A mortgages, or mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, who are facing foreclosure will also have relief from foreclosure or being forced to relocate as we address the COVID-19 pandemic.  The foreclosure eviction moratorium is in effect until May 17, 2020. 

Renters in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs

Eviction Moratorium for Renters

Until July 26, 2020, property owners are prohibited from filing for eviction against or charging any fees for unpaid rent and fees to a tenant in properties with federally-guaranteed loans or participating in federal housing programs.  Property owners must also issue a notice to tenants to vacate 30 days before an eviction and the notice to vacate cannot be issued during this 120-day period.

This protection covers properties that receive federal subsidies such as public housing, Section 8 assistance, USDA rural housing programs, and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, as well as properties that have a mortgage issued or guaranteed by a federal agency (including FHA and USDA) or Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

Additionally, owners of multifamily buildings with federal loans in forbearance may not evict tenants for unpaid rent or charge late fees or penalties until the loan exits forbearance. 

Renters seeking information on whether they are covered by the moratorium should contact Legal Aid Society of Hawaii or a HUD approved housing counselor.  You can find the nearest housing counselor here or by calling (800) 569-4287.

COVID-19: First Hawaii Arrest for Violation of Order & Prohibited Acts

Hawaii Island Police report that 43-year-old Carissa Glende of Kailua-Kona was arrested for Violation of Order (586-11 HRS) after she went to a residence at the 82-6000 block of Anoi Place in Captain Cook, and threw a rock at a window and started an argument with occupants of the home, which violated a court order.  

Additionally, since she was not at her current place of residence during the Governor’s Emergency Proclamation, she was also arrested for Prohibited Acts (Emergency Management) under Section 127A-29 Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes.

She was subsequently charged for both offenses and bail has been set at $4000.00. She is presently at the Kona Police Station Cellblock, awaiting the next court appearance.

EPA Acts to Protect the Public from Unregistered Product Imported into Honolulu

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it has prevented several shipments of an illegal health product from entering U.S. Pacific ports under federal pesticide laws. The item, Virus Shut Out, is not registered with the EPA. Therefore, its safety and efficacy against viruses have not been evaluated.  In addition, its labeling – including directions for use – is not provided in the English language as required by law, and on-line advertising materials contain misleading claims about its safety and effectiveness.

EPA has been working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deny entry to the illegal product, which is being imported from Japan and Hong Kong through U.S. ports in Honolulu and Guam. EPA and CBP will continue monitoring for products with illegal pesticidal claims. In addition, EPA has reached out to Amazon to remove the product from their online marketplace. Amazon has taken this step.

“It is critical that people only use EPA-registered disinfectants and follow label directions for proper use,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “EPA will not tolerate companies selling illegal disinfectants and making false or misleading public health claims during this pandemic crisis.”

Under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, products that claim to kill or repel bacteria or germs are considered pesticides and must be registered with the EPA prior to distribution or sale. Public health claims can only be made regarding products that have been properly tested and are registered with the EPA. The agency will not register a pesticide until it has been determined that it will not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. Products not registered by EPA can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs.

EPA has released an expanded list of EPA-registered disinfectant products that have qualified for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The list contains nearly 300 additional products—including products that went through the expedited review process for emerging viral pathogens.

To view the most up-to-date list of EPA-registered disinfectant products, visit https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2

For more information on EPA resources on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19): https://www.epa.gov/coronavirus

For more information on pesticides, please visit: http://www.epa.gov/pesticides  

HPD Announces Adjustments Due to COVID-19

In an effort to promote social distancing per the Governor’s supplement to the emergency proclamation addressing the COVID-19 pandemic, the following adjustments have been made with services that the Hawaiʻi Police Department provides the public:

  • Records section is closed to the public; however, the staff is still available to answer questions, accepting and processing requests for copies of police reports, which will be distributed strictly by mail.  To order a copy of a report or if there are further questions about reports, staff can be reached during normal business hours at phone (808) 961-2233. Police report requests can also be made through the various district police stations with the numbers as follows:

Puna District Patrol………..…..(808) 965-2716

Hāmākua District Patrol………..(808 )775-7533

South Kohala District Patrol.…(808) 887-3080

North Kohala District Patrol…..(808) 889-6540

Kona District Records…………(808) 326-4646 (ext. 285)

Kaʻū District Patrol………….…..(808) 939-2520

  • Applications for Permits to Acquire and Firearms Registration services Island-wide remain open and will be conducted by appointment only. To schedule an appointment in Hilo during normal business hours call (808) 961-2233, to schedule an appointment in Kona call (808) 326-4646 (ex 222). To schedule an appointment at any of the other district stations, refer to the above listing of phone numbers.
  • Traffic Services Section is closed to the public; however, the staff is still available to answer questions during normal business hours at phone (808) 961-2227. (Of note this does not affect the Driver’s License Services as these are overseen by the Finance Department).
  • Dispatch and the 911 system continues normal operations with emergency and non-emergency calls.
  • Patrol and Criminal Investigation Divisions services continue normal operations. District police stations remain open island-wide.

Should you have further questions on this matter, you may call Major Samuel Jelsma of the Administrative Division at (808) 961-2265.

Driving Credentials & COVID-19 Emergency Orders

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Highways Division announces the following changes to its vehicle licensing and safety check programs as part of the effort to reduce face-to-face interactions during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Driver’s Licenses and State IDs

  • The state is invoking a 90-day waiver on all expired driver’s licenses and State identification cards. If your driver’s license or State ID expires between March 23 and May 15, your credentials will be considered valid in the State of Hawaii for an additional 90-days.
  • In coordination with the county driver’s licensing centers, HDOT has suspended all in-person driver’s license transactions and in-vehicle testing. There are limited non-in-person driver’s license services available such as online ordering of duplicates currently offered by the City and County of Honolulu for eligible residents, and mail-in duplicates and renewals offered by all counties. Please visit the county’s website or contact the county that issued your driver’s license or state ID for instructions on using their mail-in services.
  • The 90-day waiver for driver’s licenses also applies to Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) holders. Additionally, HDOT is allowing extension of the Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) and hazardous materials endorsement expiration for motor carriers through the period of the Governor’s emergency proclamation which began March 4 and was extended to May 15.
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is accepting expired driver’s licenses or State IDs that expired on or after March 1 for use at TSA checkpoints. See https://www.tsa.gov/coronavirus for more information.
  • On March 23, President Donald Trump announced that the Oct. 1, 2020 REAL ID deadline would be extended. The new deadline has yet to be announced.

Periodic Motor Vehicle Inspection (Safety Check)

The annual safety check requirement is suspended, and no safety checks will be done through the month of April. If your safety check is expired, it will remain valid through May 31. Also, you may renew your vehicle registration online or with your expired safety check certificate during this grace period.

Vehicle Registration

Vehicle registrations may still be done online or by mail even though your safety check may have expired. Not all counties allow online renewals after your registration submission deadline. Please check your county’s website or contact your county office for further information.

City and County of Honolulu

http://www.honolulu.gov/csd

County of Maui

https://www.mauicounty.gov/1328/Motor-Vehicle-Licensing

County of Hawaii

https://www.hawaiicounty.gov/departments/finance/vehicle-registration-licensing

County of Kauai

http://www.kauai.gov/Portals/0/Mayor/PIO/NR032320FD.pdf?ver=2020-03-23-100938-193

HDOT thanks the counties and the community for their social distancing efforts.

Oahu: Most Traffic, Criminal & Civil Cases Postponed

 The Hawaii State Judiciary wants to emphasize that the vast majority of District Court cases on Oahu have been postponed until after April 30. Individuals with the following cases should not report to court:

  • Traffic cases for non-custody defendants
  • Misdemeanor, petty misdemeanor, and criminal violation cases for defendants who are not in custody (e.g. jail, police department)
  • Small claims cases
  • Regular claims cases, including landlord-tenant cases
  • Community Outreach Court cases

“Earlier this week, First Circuit Chief Judge R. Mark Browning issued an emergency order granting postponements of these cases to reduce the number of people going to court during this public health crisis,” said Deputy Chief Judge Melanie May. “We appreciate people taking their court appearances seriously, but want to reiterate that most cases have been postponed. They will get letters informing them of their new court dates.

“We support social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community and ask for everyone’s cooperation by doing so as well.”

During this public health crisis, the only District Court cases that will proceed as scheduled are:

  • Temporary Restraining Order cases
  • Misdemeanor, petty misdemeanor, and criminal violation cases for defendants currently in the custody of the Honolulu Police Department, the Department of Public Safety, and/or the Hawaii State Hospital (referred to as “custody defendants”)
  • Traffic cases for custody defendants 
  • Felony cases 
  • Driving While Impaired (DWI) court cases

Anyone with questions about their District Court cases may call the appropriate court:

Honolulu District Court: (808) 538-5629
First Circuit Civil District Court: (808) 538-5767
Kaneohe District Court (criminal): (808) 534-6300
Ewa-Pearl City District Court: (808) 534-6900
Wahiawa District Court: (808) 534-6200
Waianae District Court: (808) 954-8575

For the latest information, visit the Judiciary’s COVID-19 Information page.

Gabbard Calls For Self-Quarantine Of Arriving Travelers & Returning Residents

In response to the unprecedented global coronavirus pandemic, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) is calling upon Governor David Ige to immediately institute a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine of anyone who travels to Hawaiʻi, including both visitors and kamaʻāina returning home.

“The governor of California is predicting that they’ll have 25 million cases of coronavirus in the state of California alone within the next 8 weeks. That’s over 60% of California’s population. As we look at how to prevent visitors from bringing the coronavirus to Hawaiʻi, it’s not enough to just encourage people not to come to Hawaiʻi. It also doesn’t do much good to take people’s temperatures when they get here because people can be asymptomatic and be spreading the disease,” said Rep. Tulsi Gabbard.

“While Governor Ige does not have the power to suspend flights, I’m calling on the Governor to immediately institute a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine of anyone who travels to Hawaiʻi. This is what is already being done in countries around the world — like Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and China’s capital city Beijing. Visitors will be monitored to make sure that they are adhering to the quarantine. If they are residents, then they will be in house quarantine, separate from their relatives or others who are in the home. And if they are visitors, they’ll be quarantined in their hotel room. This is an absolute necessity, and it will be a tremendous help in saving lives here in Hawaiʻi.”

Chief Justice Orders Courthouses Closed to the Public Except for Official Court Business

Today Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald ordered all state courthouses closed to the public, except for official court business, from March 23 to April 30, 2020.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and the Judiciary is taking appropriate steps to ensure the safety of our community,” Chief Justice Recktenwald said. “We join Hawaii’s leaders in doing everything possible to slow the spread of this virus.”

Those with official court business include:

·        Parties, attorneys, witnesses, domestic violence advocates, guardians ad litem, interpreters, or any other person who must appear in-person as authorized by previous orders

·        Individuals who need to file documents with the court and who are unable to electronically file

·        Individuals who request to watch a specific public proceeding

The order states that any person entering judiciary facilities must minimize their time within the facility to the extent reasonably possible. This means going directly to areas of the facility in which their presence is required and leaving immediately after their business is complete. Additionally, anyone in judiciary facilities must maintain six feet between themselves and any other person to the extent feasible, including within courtrooms.

The chief judges of each circuit may issue orders and adjust court operations as necessary to minimize the number of people entering judiciary facilities, including establishing secure drop-boxes outside of courthouses for document filing to replace current in-person filing procedures.

In a related action to stem the spread of COVID-19, Judge Melanie May, Deputy Chief Judge of the District Court, First Circuit, today issued an order completely closing the following Oahu District Court facilities from March 23 to April 30:

·         Ewa District Court

·         Kaneohe District Court

·         Wahiawa District Court

·         Waianae District Court

·         Traffic Violations Bureau (2nd floor of Honolulu District Court)

·         Legal Documents Branch (3rd floor of Honolulu District Court)

Temporary Restraining Orders and other documents that a party is unable to file electronically may be filed at the Honolulu District Court Information Booth which is located to the right of the main entrance.

Essential court proceedings will be held at the Honolulu District Court, including TRO hearings. For cases involving defendants in custody, video conferencing will be used to the extent possible.

“Our local, state, and federal officials have emphasized that social distancing is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community and flattening the curve,” said Deputy Chief Judge Melanie May. “The Judiciary’s collective efforts to further reduce court operations not only promotes social distancing within court facilities, but also in the larger community by allowing people to remain at home rather than making their way to the courthouse steps.”   

Anyone with questions about any District Court case on Oahu may call 808-538-5629 or 808-538-5767.

The Judiciary has also taken action to minimize the number of in-person court proceedings. On Monday, March 16, the Chief Justice issued an order limiting all in-person appearances for civil, family, and, to the extent possible, criminal dockets, except for urgent and time sensitive matters. The order also prohibits individuals from entering judiciary facilities if they have a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms; traveled outside Hawaii in the past 14 days; or have had close prolonged contact with a person who has or is suspected to have COVID-19. 

Additionally, to minimize health risks:

·       First Circuit Chief Judge R. Mark Browning issued an emergency order stating all public sales of property ordered to be sold in foreclosure cases filed in the First Circuit be postponed until after April 30. The order also states that open houses scheduled for court-related public sale be rescheduled until after April 30. Interested parties should read the full order.·      Yesterday, Chief Justice Recktenwald issued an order extending appellate deadlines that expire between March 20 and April 3, 2020 to April 6. Interested parties should read the full order.Copies of all orders are available on the Judiciary’s COVID-19 Information page.

Hawaii AG Calls for Encouraging Access to Health Coverage During Pandemic

Following an alert from the Trump Administration purporting to address the policy denying health care to lawful immigrants, Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors joined a coalition led by Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson calling on the Trump Administration to delay its “public charge” rule while the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the nation.

Per the letter, the coalition asserts that while the COVID-19 public health crisis continues, the Trump Administration refuses to confirm that attempts by lawful immigrants to access health coverage will not impair their ability to stay in the country.

“The impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak are increasing day-by-day on our state,” said Attorney General Connors. “The administration’s rule discourages individuals from seeking medical care even though they are lawfully entitled to receive it. This is potentially devastating given our country’s current crisis situation.”

Federal law allows many lawful immigrants to apply for public benefits, such as health care, if they have been in the country for at least five years. The new rule creates a “bait-and-switch” ― if immigrants use the public assistance to which they are legally entitled, they would jeopardize their chances of later renewing their visa or becoming permanent residents.

Today’s letter to Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf and U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) senior official Ken Cuccinelli, follows a March 6 letter the attorneys general sent to the same officials calling for the rule’s suspension. Though neither official responded to the initial letter, USCIS posted an “alert” on March 13 that said the government would not consider any form of testing or care related to COVID-19 in immigrants’ public charge assessment, “even if such treatment is provided or paid for by one or more public benefits, as defined in the rule (e.g. federally funded Medicaid).”

However, the letter points out that the alert contains confusing and internally contradictory statements about the impact using Medicaid will have on non-citizens.

“If DHS is attempting to ensure noncitizens in our communities remain enrolled in Medicaid so they can use Medicaid services should they have symptoms of COVID-19, the Alert fails to achieve this,” the attorneys general’s letter states. “And likewise, if DHS is attempting to ensure that noncitizens seek testing and treatment for COVID-19 without fear of public charge consequences, the Alert also utterly fails to achieve this.”

“The Alert fails to recognize that in order to receive adequate health services, our residents need adequate health insurance benefits,” the letter continues. “To achieve DHS’s stated goal of encouraging noncitizens to seek testing and treatment for COVID- 19, noncitizens must be encouraged to enroll or remain enrolled in health insurance programs, including Medicaid, and they must be assured that such enrollment during this dire national health emergency will not be considered in any future public charge determination.”

The conflicting statements could cause immigrants to forgo medical treatment that could be critical to protecting our communities from the spread of the virus, the attorneys general write.

“Given the grave danger facing our nation’s health and economy, it is imperative that DHS not chill immigrants from enrolling in Medicaid or using Medicaid benefits for any purpose until the COVID-19 crisis is over. Under the Alert, however, noncitizens who remain enrolled in Medicaid continue to risk their green cards and visas. As DHS previously conceded, this will prompt immigrants to disenroll from Medicaid and lead to an ‘increased prevalence of communicable diseases,’ as the nation is now experiencing at a horrifying rate.

“To protect the residents of our states and the rest of the country, we ask that DHS immediately announce that the Rule is stayed pending successful containment of COVID-19. Short of that, however, it is imperative that DHS at least make clear that enrollment in Medicaid and the use of Medicaid benefits for any reason will not be considered in the public charge assessment. Given that these benefits were not considered in the public charge assessment for many years prior to DHS’s recent change of policy, it is inexplicably harmful for the agency to begin counting them now, during the outbreak of a lethal global pandemic.”

Joining Washington state on the letter are the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

Grounded Sailing Vessel Removed From Rocks off Hilo

The grounded, 63-foot fishing vessel Midway Island, was successfully moved from the rocks to Pier 2 within Hilo Harbor, Tuesday.

The grounded, 63-foot fishing vessel, Midway Island, being successfully removed from Hilo Harbor, March 17, 2020. The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources will assume the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the Midway Island. (U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

Wednesday, Coast Guard contractors worked to stabilize the vessel, deploy preventative adsorbent boom around the vessel, and mitigate any remaining petroleum. The vessel is now stabilized and preventatively boomed at Pier 2 in Hilo Harbor.

“We are lucky to have strong partnerships with the industry, State, and the local community,” said Chief Warrant Officer Russ Strathern, marine safety specialist, Sector Honolulu. “This complex incident involved a lot of coordination, communication, and patience, as we leveraged multiple strategies to mitigate the environmental threat. I am thankful for our response ohana.”

(U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

The State of Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources will assume the lead as the coordinating agency to work with the owner of the Midway Island for vessel disposition and to conduct a cleanup of the grounding site as the pollution threat has been removed. The State will assess environmental damages and facilitate the future steps of mitigating impacts and vessel disposition.

Reportedly, 1,585 gallons of petroleum products, including marine diesel, lube, and hydraulic oil, and oily waste, were safely removed along with the batteries and household cleaners prior to refloating and towing operations began.

(U.S. Coast Guard courtesy photo/Released)

The U.S.-flagged vessel grounded Feb. 3, and the Coast Guard continuously worked with the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources and other partners to safely move the boat and mitigate pollution aboard. The environmental impact was minimal, and there is no evidence of pollution discharge as a result of the grounding. 

Midway Island was transiting from Los Angeles to Hawaii at the time of the grounding. The cause remains under investigation.

Cruise Ships to Refuel & Restock in Honolulu

The Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT) Harbors Division is preparing to accept two cruise ship arrivals at Honolulu Harbor in order for the vessels to refuel and restock on food and supplies. However, passengers will not be allowed to leave the ship. All cruise ships are on a 30-day pause in operations that took effect March 14, 2020. At the time of the directive pausing operations, these two ships, the Maasdam operated by Holland American Line and the Norwegian Jewel operated by Norwegian Cruise Line, were already at sea.

“The health and safety of all people in Hawaii is always at the forefront of operational decisions. Presently, all state resources are focused and directed towards containing the spread of COVID-19. Allowing more than 2,500 passengers and crew to disembark will further strain these resources,” said Director Jade Butay, Hawaii Department of Transportation. “HDOT and the State are allowing the ships to dock at Honolulu Harbor so they may refuel and restock. Neither ship had originally planned to make Hawaii its final port and both will carry on to mainland destinations, where more resources can be marshalled to handle the passengers and crew properly.”

On Tuesday, the Governor announced the State’s 15 Days to Slow the Spread effort. As part of this announcement, he directed visitors to consider postponing their travel to Hawaii for at least 30 days. Pursuant to the Governor’s announcement, HDOT made the decision to deny the two requests to allow passengers and crew to disembark.

The Maasdam is scheduled to arrive at Honolulu Harbor Pier 2 on Friday, March 20. It is scheduled to depart the following day. There are approximately 850 passengers onboard.

The Norwegian Jewel is scheduled to arrive Sunday, March 22. It has approximately 1,700 passengers on board.

There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 on either ship.

There are 16 cruise ships that have canceled scheduled visits to Hawaii during the 30 day suspension in operations. For information regarding the Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) directive please click here.

For additional transportation related information and resources please visit the HDOT COVID-19 webpage by clicking here.

Two Arrested for Illegal Harvest of Hundreds of ‘Opihi

Two men from O‘ahu’s North Shore were cited yesterday by officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), after they were allegedly caught picking ‘opihi in the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD). It is illegal to remove any marine life from an MLCD.

PC: DLNR

53-year-old Raymond Agsalda of Waialua and 53-year-old Ronsin Rosa of Hale‘iwa had 784 ‘opihi in their possession when contacted by DOCARE officers. Hawai‘i Administrative Rules prohibit any fishing, catching, killing, removal, or possession of any sea life, including live coral or rock from the MLCD. The only exception is in-season fishing at Waimea Bay, which has species restrictions and bag limits. 

PC: DLNR

The men are charged with a petty misdemeanor and if convicted could be fined or face jail time. Anyone who sees possible illegal activity or resource violations is asked to report it immediately to 643-DLNR (3567) or via the free DLNRTipApp.

Hawaii Sheriff Division Suspends Eviction Activities

The Hawaii Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division is suspending all eviction activities as part of the Department’s COVID-19 response efforts.

“In light of the Governor’s recent State of Emergency declaration, the Judiciary limiting court proceedings, and the rapidly evolving situation, we felt it was in the best interest of our community to suspend these actions,” said Public Safety Director Nolan Espinda.

The temporary hold on evictions is effective immediately.  This suspension will be reevaluated at a later date.

COVID-19 Leads to Parks and Facilities Closures

(Honolulu) – Out of an abundance of caution and to facilitate social distancing recommendations, DLNR and its divisions are announcing the following closures to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. DLNR Chair Suzanne Case said, “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding during this time of major inconvenience. We intend to reopen parks and facilities as soon as the novel coronavirus is no longer a threat. These steps are being taken to protect all visitors and constituents, as well as our staff, while maintaining a high level of service.”

Closures are listed alphabetically by division or office and will be updated as necessary:

Bureau of Conveyances (BOC) – (808) 587-0147

  • The public reference room #123 in the Kalanimoku State Office Building will be closed starting Wed, 3/18/20 until further notice.  Most, but not all, research normally done in this facility can be accomplished online: https://boc.ehawaii.gov/docsearch/search.html
  • The BOC recording office room #120 in the Kalanimoku State Office Building is continuing to conduct document recording.  Electronic or mail-in recordings are strongly recommended: https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/boc/e-recording/or Bureau of Conveyances, P.O. Box 2867, Honolulu, HI  96803.

Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) – (808) 587-0214

  • The CWRM office, room 227, in the Kalanimoku State Office Building is closed to in-person access.
  • All permit applications accepted by mail or electronic transmission: dlnr.cwrm@hawaii.gov
  • CWRM is not currently accepting hand-delivered applications.

Division of Aquatic Resources (DAR) – (808) 587-0100

  • All DAR offices across the state are closed to in-person access. People can apply for licenses, permits and registrations on the DAR website or by calling (808) 587-0100.

Division of Boating and Ocean Recreation (DOBOR) – (808) 587-1966 https://dlnr.hawaii.gov/dobor/

  • All DOBOR District and Harbor offices are closed to in-person access.
  • All public restrooms facilities within harbors are closed.
  • All existing and new Marine Event Permits involving more than 50 people are being cancelled.
  • Payments for slips, revocable permits & leases, vessel registrations & transfers should be submitted online or via mail: vessel.ehawaii.gov or DOBOR, 4 Sand Island Access Road, Honolulu, HI  96819

Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) – (808) 587-0066

  • All DOCARE offices statewide closed to in-person access. Anyone needing in-person services such as evidence releases or report copies should call DOCARE to make arrangements.
  • All in-person State Hunter Education classes are suspended. On-line courses continue, but in-person testing requirements are suspended. Replacement hunter education cards can be processed online. Hunter Education offices in Honolulu and Waimea are closed to in-person access.
  • DOCARE officers will be patrolling all closed facilities and enforcing these closures.  Anyone caught in a closed area is subject to law enforcement actions including the possibility of citations and/or arrest.
  • Please report suspected resource violations to 643-DLNR (3567) or via the free DLNRTip app.

Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) – (808) 587-016

  • DOFAW announces a 30-day pause for deer hunting season in the Lānaʻi Game Management Area. Permits and reservations for deer hunts for March 21st, 22nd,28th, 29th and April 4th, 5th, 11th & 12th have been cancelled.  Efforts are underway to notify hunters impacted by this cancellation.
  • Hawai ‘i island’s hunting tag requirements will be waived for the Spring Turkey and the Puuanhulu Archery season.
  • At this time, there are no additional closures of State Forest Reserves, Wildlife Sanctuaries, other Game Management Areas, Natural Area Reserves, or trails in the Nā Ala Hele Trails & Access Program. (Please note: Mānoa Falls and ‘Aihualama trails are currently closed due to unsafe and slippery conditions).
  • No new permits for Hawai‘i Island’s Waimanu campsites, Keanakolu cabins and Ainapo cabin will be issued. All existing permits are suspended and full refunds will be issued.
  • There are no restrictions on otherwise permitted activities, including public access, hunting and recreation.
  • All DOFAW offices statewide are closed to in-person access.
  • Hunting licenses are available at: https://hunting.ehawaii.gov
  • Camping permits are available at: https://camping.ehawaii.gov
  • Collection permits are available upon request at: dlnr.fw.oahubranch@hawaii.gov
  • Hiking permits for Lulumahu and Kuaokala trails are available at: https://trails.ehawaii.gov/camping/all,e-search.html#.
  • Poamoho hiking permits are available at: https://hawaiitrails.hawaii.gov/trails/#/trail/poamoho-trail–poamoho-hele-loa-access-on-line-permit/175

DLNR Main Office (Chair’s Office) – (808) 587-0400

  • Offices at 1151 Punchbowl Street, in the Kalanimoku State Office Building have limited in-person access.
  • Please call the number above or contact DLNR at dlnr@hawaii.gov

Engineering Division – (808) 587-0230

  • Engineering Division Office, Room 221, in the Kalanimoku State Office Building are closed to in-person access, except for deliveries and mail drop off/pick-up.
  • E-mail inquiries to dlnr.engr@hawaii.gov

Administrative Services Office (Fiscal Office) – (808) 587-0344

  • The office at 1151 Punchbowl Street, in the Kalanimoku State Office Building, is not accepting walk-in payments. Payments can be mailed to P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, HI 96809-0621.

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPD) – (808) 692-8015

  • SHPD Offices are closed to in-person access.
  • Communications, including formal project submittals must be sent electronically.
  • The SHPD Librarian and GIS Specialist will respond to requests for digital library and archival materials, and GIS data on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • To report the inadvertent discovery of a burial site, please call the number above.

Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission (KIRC) – (808) 243-5020

  • KIRC’s Wailuku Office is closed to in-person access.
  • All Kaho‘olawe trolling permits will only be accepted by mail. Boat stickers and permits will be mailed to applicants.
  • Mail permit applications to: 811 Kolu St., Suite 201, Wailuku, HI 96793
  • The KIRC will be continuing recovery and restoration activities due to a recent wildfire on Kaho‘olawe, but work groups are being reduced in size.

Land Division – (808) 587-0419

  • All Land Division Offices statewide are closed to in-person access.

Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands (OCCL) – (808) 587-0377

  • OCCL Offices are closed to in-person access.
  • For information about Conservation District regulations and policies visit the OCCL webpage.
  • Applications and inquiries can be mailed to Office of Conservation & Coastal Lands, P.O. 621, Honolulu, HI 96809-0621.

Division of State Parks – (808) 587-0300

  • State Parks Offices statewide are closed to in-person access
  • Caretakers will continue to maintain, monitor and service parks during these closures.
  • Camping and pavilion use permits are suspended.
  • Vendors and concessions are being contacted with cease-of-operations instructions.
  • The following parks will be closed effective, March 18, 2020

Hawai‘i Island:   

‘Akaka Falls State Park

Kekaha Kai State Park

Wailoa River State Recreation Area

Wailuku River State Park

Hāpuna Beach SRA

Kīholo State Park Reserve

Kaua‘i:

All State Parks, Recreational Piers, Wilderness Parks and Historic Parks

Maui:

Iao Valley State Monument

Wai’anapanapa State Park

Kaumahina State Wayside

Pua’a Ka’a State Wayside

Makena State Park

Polipoli State Recreational Area-cabin and tent camping

Molokai:

Pala’au State Park

Oahu:

All State Parks, Monuments, Waysides, Lookouts, Historical Sites and Recreation Areas

Chair Case commented, “While we are disappointed to have to close parks and facilities and to cancel hunts, camping, special use permits and events, due to the necessity of social distancing, the health and safety of our staff serving the public and the safety of the community is our highest priority. We continue working very closely with other state agencies and will provide updates about any additional closures or restrictions that might be necessary to keep everyone safe.”

Hawaii Police Department Promotions Announced

Police Chief Paul Ferreira has announced three promotions, two employees from the rank of Lieutenant to Captain, and one employee from Captain to Major.

Thomas Shopay, a 20-year veteran, has been promoted to Captain and assigned to the Area II Criminal Investigation Division (Kona). He formerly commanded the Area II Criminal Investigation Section and has previously worked on the Special Response Team, Area II Vice Section (Kona), and Kona Patrol District.

Regino Saludares, a 22-year veteran, has been promoted to Captain assigned to the Hāmākua Patrol District. He formerly commanded the CALEA (Accreditation) section, and he has previously worked in the Area I Criminal Investigation Division (Hilo) and South Hilo Patrol District.

Kenneth Quiocho, a 27-year veteran, has been promoted to Major assigned to the Area I Field Operations Division (Hilo). He formerly commanded the South Hilo Patrol District, and previously worked in the Puna Patrol District, Kaʻū Patrol District, CALEA (Accreditation), South Kohala Patrol District, Area I VICE Section (Hilo), and Hāmākua Patrol District.

These promotions are effective today (March 16, 2020).

Chief Justice Issues Order Limiting In-Court Proceedings

Hawaii Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald today issued an order that beginning Tuesday, March 17, and continuing through April 30, with the exception of emergency and time-sensitive matters, in-person appearances for civil, family, and to the extent possible, criminal matters will be limited.

Mark Recktenwald

“These significant limitations on our operations are necessary to slow the spread of COVID-19,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.  “Our foremost concern is to protect all individuals who come in contact with the court for any reason.”

The Order significantly reduces the need for in-court appearances and postpones most court proceedings, including all trials. The full Order can be found here.

“Additionally, we have now added a COVID-19 Information Page on the Judiciary’s website,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald.  “We also strongly encourage everyone to get general COVID-19 information from other reliable sources, such as the Department of Health and CDC.”

Judiciary Limiting Access to Facilities

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Judiciary announced today that beginning Monday, March 16, it will restrict access to anyone who has a fever, cough, or other respiratory symptoms; has traveled outside Hawaii in the past 14 days; or who has had close prolonged contact with a person who has or is suspected to have COVID-19. Such individuals will not be allowed to enter courthouses and other Judiciary facilities. Signs to this effect will be posted in all buildings. Each sign will include phone numbers to call if the advisement applies to them.

“As more information has become available, we believe it’s prudent to put these additional precautions in place,” said Chief Justice Mark E. Recktenwald. “We want to ensure a safe environment for everyone in our courthouses and other facilities.”

Additionally, the Judiciary will close Aliiolani Hale, home of the Hawaii Supreme Court, to anyone without official court business. 

The Supreme Court Law Library, which is located in Aliiolani Hale, will be closed. Its Hawaii State Law Library System website offers a host of resources and services, including “ask a librarian” for legal information. For assistance, please call 808-539-4964.  

The King Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, which provides educational programs for schools and the community, will also be closed. Affected groups, including tour companies, have been notified of the closure. 

“Limiting public access to Aliiolani Hale was a difficult decision,” said Chief Justice Recktenwald. “The Law Library and Judiciary History Center are important resources in our community. However, itʻs the right thing to do at this time.”

Gov. Ige Appoints Kubota to Hawai‘i Island’s Circuit Court

Gov. David Ige has appointed long-time Hilo attorney Peter Kubota to fill the vacancy left on the Third Circuit Court by the retirement of Circuit Judge Greg K. Nakamura.

Nakamura retired in November 2019.

Peter Kubota

Kubota has practiced law for 30 years, specializing in estate planning, real property advice and litigation, and business law. He began his solo law practice in Hilo 24 years ago. Last year, Kubota was appointed to serve as a per-diem judge in District and Family Courts.

Kubota is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Richardson School of Law where he earned is Juris Doctor degree; the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where he received his BBA in Finance; and Hilo High School.

“I am so pleased and grateful to Governor Ige for trusting in me to serve our community, and the laws and constitutions of the United States and our beautiful State of Hawai‘i,” said Kubota.

Kubota’s appointment is subject to Senate confirmation.

Hawaii AG Announces Agreement with T-Mobile/Sprint Merger

Hawaii Attorney General Clare E. Connors today announced a settlement agreement with T-Mobile on behalf of a 12-state coalition. This agreement resolves the state’s challenge to the company’s merger with Sprint, and includes terms to resolve Hawaii’s concerns over pricing and to protect current T-Mobile and Sprint employees in Hawaii. T-Mobile will reimburse Hawaii for the costs and fees of its investigation and its litigation challenging the merger. As a result, Hawaii has agreed to not appeal the judgment.

Hawaii Attorney General Clare Connors

“The merger raised significant concerns about the prospect of harm to consumers, and this settlement provides assurances of low prices by T-Mobile,” said Attorney General Connors. “The district court approved the merger and signaled its belief that DISH will rise to replace Sprint as a fourth competitor. We will be watching to ensure that DISH lives up to its commitments on network buildout.”

As required by the settlement, the merged company is required to:

  • Make low-cost plans available in Hawaii for at least 5 years, including a plan offering 2 GB of high-speed data at $15 per month and 5 GB of high-speed data at $25 per month;
  • Extend for at least an additional two years the rate plans offered by T-Mobile and Sprint pursuant to its earlier FCC commitment, ensuring Hawaii consumers can retain T-Mobile plans held in February 2019 for a total of five years;
  • Protect Hawaii jobs by offering all Hawaii T-Mobile and Sprint retail employees in good standing an offer of substantially similar employment.
  • Reimburse the coalition of states up to $15 million for the costs of the investigation and litigation challenging the merger.

The states involved in this settlement were Wisconsin, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and the District of Columbia.

In June 2019, a coalition of states filed a lawsuit to halt the proposed merger of T- Mobile and Sprint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. In February 2020, the court entered a judgment in favor of the companies. This coalition of states will not appeal the decision of the Southern District Court of New York.

ACLU Files Amicus Brief Supporting KAHEA’s Rights

On Friday, March 3, 2020, the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (the ACLU of Hawaiʻi) filed an amicus brief in support of KAHEA’s attempt to stop the Department of the Attorney General from enforcing a subpoena for KAHEA’s bank records as part of the AG’s investigation into the environmental non-profit’s support of the Mauna Kea demonstrations.

The brief argues that targeting and investigating KAHEA for their advocacy and political affiliation concerning Mauna Kea intrudes on the organization’s speech and associational rights, improperly retaliates against KAHEA for its position on the Thirty Meter Telescope, and risks the privacy of KAHEA’s donors and supporters. The investigation into KAHEA follows a disturbing trend of subpoenas issued to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Hawaiian Airlines miles donors also for their support of the Mauna Kea demonstrations.

While the ACLU does not take a position on the Thirty Meter Telescope, this case is about the right of the people to organize and demonstrate without fear that they will find themselves under investigation for doing so.

Whether you are in favor or against the Thirty Meter Telescope, the AG’s heavy-handed actions have a chilling effect on everyone’s rights.

There are acceptable ways for the Department of the Attorney General to investigate organizations that abuse their non-profit status or that break the law, but here the Department seems to be using isolated acts of alleged civil disobedience as a pretext to launch far-reaching investigations into organizations that support the Mauna Kea demonstrations. Using the Attorney General’s oversight to penalize advocacy groups this way is not only wrong, it is unconstitutional.

View the brief here: 2020.03.06 – ACLU Proposed Amicus Brief In Support of KAHEA