CA DMV Prepares To Reopen Dozens Of Offices

As California begins easing some COVID-19 restrictions, the state's Department of Motor Vehicles is getting ready to start opening back up.

Offices could open as soon as this month, if Gov. Gavin Newsom gives his approval.

The first wave of reopening would include about 25 offices and some business centers. 

DMV Director Steve Gordon tells KCBS Radio that initially, offices will limit the number of people that can be in a waiting room at one time and employees and customers will have to adhere to social distancing.

"We use text messaging, so we can take your cell phone number when you come into the office and we’ll text you when it’s your time in line. So we’re going to restrict the number of people that are in the waiting area," Gordon said. "In addition, we’re going to use every other window. We want to make sure there is social distancing for our workers as well as for our customers so that we can reduce transmission risk."

People will also be required to wear face coverings before entering.

The first people allowed back to the DMV will be those with pre-existing appointments.

"It’s least disruptive to go ahead and honor those appointments," Gordon said.

DMV officials will closely monitor the first phase of reopening and use feedback and lessons learned to then plan out the next phases. In the meantime, the DMV has tweaked many of its policies to accommodate the public. Some services have been moved online such as renewing registrations or licenses, renewal deadlines have been extended and many late fees and penalties are being waived.

But there is one highly anticipated service that will not return any time soon.

"Parents are concerned, the kids are concerned about how to get a permit, how to get a license. That’s still a challenge," Gordon said. "There is no way to adhere to social distancing with both a test taker and evaluator in one car, so for now first time drivers are out of luck."