Kokua Line: Does Safe Travels automatically issue Hawaii SMART Health Cards?

·4 min read

Oct. 14—Question : I already had a Safe Travels account from a trip over the summer so I figured I would get the health card too. I thought I had to plug it in myself, but when I logged in it was already there. Is that standard now ?

Answer : Yes, as of Oct. 5, for people whose vaccine documents for the Safe Travels vaccine exception were electronically verified, according to Hawaii's COVID-19 portal.

"Those whose vaccine document received auto-verification from Safe Travels for exception from quarantine are automatically generated a Hawaii SMART Health Card by the system. These individuals do not need to go through the process of obtaining a Hawaii SMART Health Card since the system already generated one for you, " the portal says, noting that this is an update to the original process.

The Safe Travels digital platform can't auto-verify all eligible vaccine documents, so this automatic issuance won't happen for all users.

The Hawaii SMART Health Card serves as a digital pass for people who don't want to carry their CDC card with them, but need proof of COVID-19 vaccination to enter restaurants, bars or certain other businesses. The SMART Health Card QR code resides in the holder's Safe Travels account. Having to log in there, at, to retrieve the SMART Health Card QR code has prompted some user complaints.

The Safe Travels digital platform manages exceptions for arriving passengers who can avoid Hawaii's 10-day self-quarantine by proving they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have tested negative for the disease within the previous 72 hours.

Q : We are planning an important event that would be close family only, including four sets of grandparents (we know how lucky we are ). Two of them have care ­givers /attendants who are essential to their daily life. Everyone is fully vaccinated. We hope gathering size rules will change by then, but in case not, would the care ­givers /attendants count toward the overall limit, or would they get an exception ?

A : "Unless doing so would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others, a reasonable modification of policies limiting gatherings to a certain number of people should be made to exclude the PCA from the count, " according to the state Department of Health's Disability and Communication Access Board, which publishes information about disability access amid the pandemic.

PCA stands for personal care assistant or attendant, for someone with a disability.

Q : Do you know why GoAkamai made changes and removed the traffic flow maps, estimated travel times, incident reports and other features ? We look at the cameras but many key locations are "temporarily unavailable." The travel times and traffic flow maps are sorely missed.

A : A news release from the state Department of Transportation on Sept. 30—the day before the changes took effect—said features eliminated from GoAkamai.org "are now readily available on free third-party applications."

Eliminated as of Oct. 1 were traffic flow maps, travel times, weather alerts, incidents, and the personalized service MyGoAkamai, it said.

"Camera views for select state routes will continue to be available on GoAkamai.org, " according to the news release, but we've received multiple complaints that some cameras don't appear to be working.

A note on the website says it "has been redesigned to focus only on traffic cameras."

We emailed DOT spokespeople for more information about why so many features were eliminated, and so abruptly, but did not hear back by deadline.

Q : My doctor has approved my application for a disability parking permit. I know it can be submitted to a satellite city office in person. Must I have an appointment or wait in the long-standby line ?

A : No, you can handle this transaction at an Express Window, which doesn't require an appointment and isn't the same line as for those standing by (without an appointment ) in hopes of handling more complex transactions. All of Oahu's satellite city halls have Express Windows for certain uncomplicated transactions, including disability parking permits, according to Honolulu County's Department of Customer Services.

To be clear, you could also handle this by mail or by appointment. For more information, see.------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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