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DMVL to open to limited service Monday

Drive-in services, hair salons, restaurants could be next

With no new coronavirus cases in Maui County for seven days Friday, Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino announced the reopening of the county Division of Motor Vehicles and Licensing to limited service Monday and laid out a schedule for allowing drive-in religious services and the reopening of hair and nail salons and dine-in restaurant service.

“This is really exciting news,” the mayor said at his Friday news conference. “It has given me the opportunity to open up to allow us to start reopening Maui.”

Earlier this week, Victorino announced the reopening of more than 60 parks for exercise as well as select tennis and pickleball courts and allowing beach-goers to sunbathe, meditate and watch the sunset beginning today.

Victorino said his administration is finalizing plans to allow drive-in religious services beginning Friday, and reopening of hair and nail salons and barbershops May 25 and dine-in restaurants around June 5. This timeline is contingent on setting up rules for safety, he said.

When asked about guidelines for reopening restaurants, Victorino said he was not ready to announce social distancing and other rules and was conferring with health officials and restaurant organizations.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said Friday that he is seeking to have in-dining restaurants reopen June 5 with social distancing, sanitation and face mask requirements.

As for the DMVL, all offices will reopen for limited services from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. beginning Monday, the mayor announced. Lito Vila, motor vehicle and licensing administrator, said at the news conference that services will be phased in by the week.

For next week, only driver license and permit and state ID renewals — for those that have expired prior to March 16 — will be accepted. Those licenses, permits and IDs that expired March 16 and later have a 90-day exemption, he said.

Victorino added that the police have been lenient with expired car registrations and safety checks due to the closure of the DMVL. That will be coming to an end in June, he said.

Other walk-in services in the first week include initial issuance or replacement of disabled parking placards and replacement of lost driver’s licenses, permits or state IDs.

Motor vehicle transactions include ownership transfers, initial registration, duplicate titles and registrations and replacement license plates and emblems.

DMVL walk-in customers must:

• Wait in designated areas outside of the office.

• Enter the office only when second in line.

• Perform only one transaction. This will allow the DMVL to do as many transactions for as many people as possible, Vila said.

Vila also explained that if the estimated wait time is longer than the end of office hours, no additional tickets-in-line will be issued.

For more information, call the DMVL at 270-7363.

Victorino also addressed the $67 million in federal CARES Act money the county is expecting to receive. The measure cleared the House Finance Committee on Friday and heads to the full House and Senate for ratification next week.

After his news conference, Victorino announced the sending of a budget amendment to the County Council.

During the news conference, the mayor asked the council to expedite approval of the amendment because there is a Dec. 30 deadline for spending of the money. All funds not spent by then will be returned to the federal government.

He noted that Hawaii and Kauai counties already have begun their approval process, which in their counties require only one vote. In Maui County, the council will have two readings on the amendment.

About a third of the CARES Act funding is planned for grants to households, small businesses and child care. This includes supporting existing programs, such as the Hawaii Emergency Laulima Partnership (HELP), Micro Business Loan Program and the Farmers Relief program.

Additional funds are planned for public safety, property acquisition, recovery initiatives, equipment and construction and administrative costs. Funds may be tapped for expenditures incurred after March 1, he said.

Council Chairwoman Alice Lee pushed first reading of the budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1, from May 22 to May 26 to allocate the CARES Act funding.

The delay will allow the council to consider appropriating the CARES Act funding and additional money in transient accommodations tax revenue, she said.

“With the help of our partners at the state Legislature, we will be able to receive and appropriate tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue,” Lee said. “With CARES Act funding and TAT revenue, the county will be in a better position to continue serving the residents of Lanai, Maui and Molokai through the ongoing challenges brought by the COVID-19 emergency.”

CARES Act money may be appropriated immediately for the current fiscal year, she added.

The council’s Economic Development and Budget Committee recommended passage of an $817.6 million budget. Because the county hadn’t yet received assurance from the state, the committee’s proposal didn’t include any TAT revenue.

Lee said the May 26 meeting will be held by video conference at 9 a.m. Second and final reading on the budget is set for June 5, in advance of the June 10 deadline mandated by the County Charter.

In other developments:

• Workout centers and gyms will likely be one of the last sectors opening up, Victorino said in answer to a media question.

• Kanaha Beach Park currently is not ready for reopening but may be in the next seven to 10 days. He said the beach has to be cleaned up and homes provided for the homeless people who have congregated at the entrance to the park.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.

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