California DMV Closing All Field Offices to Public

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The California Department of Motor Vehicles is the latest establishment to shut its doors, citing concerns among workers about the spread of COVID-19. In a memo obtained by The LA Times, the DMV notifies its employees that it will be closing all of its more than 170 field offices to the public starting Friday. The offices will remain closed to the public. 

DMV Field Operations Deputy Director Coleen Solomon states the closures are part of the agency’s move in “taking steps to address employee health and safety concerns, including public contact and increasing social distancing between individuals.” 

All employees will be placed on paid administrative leave, as offices are shut down for cleaning and disinfecting from March 27 to 31. Staff will return to work on April 1, and undergo training for processing DMV requests online. 

While the agency does not provide a date as to when it will open again to the public, it is planning to expand online services in the meantime. The move has been urged on by employees and California residents alike, with many viewing DMV offices as prime grounds for COVID-19 to spread. 

This move comes shortly after the U.S. The Department of Homeland Security announced that the deadline for states to issue Real IDs would be postponed by one-year, until Oct. 1, 2021. Real IDs will be required for those wishing to board domestic flights, a move that was implemented to improve security measures at airports. 

This postponement alleviates a huge burden from California DMV offices, who were still facing the task of issuing millions of ID’s to residents scrambling to get one issued before the deadline. The agency had since moved to appointment-only services on March 19, cutting the number of customers visiting from 95,000 per day to about 17,000 per day. In doing so, the DMV drastically cut the number of people within close proximity to each other, in line with promoting social distancing recommendations. 

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