DMV to reopen 25 field offices across California — with modifications

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A line of people stretches around a California Department of Motor Vehicles building in South Los Angeles on Aug. 7, 2018. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

A line of people stretches around a California Department of Motor Vehicles building in South Los Angeles on Aug. 7, 2018. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

The DMV is set to reopen 25 of its field offices throughout California Friday after statewide closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, the agency announced Thursday.

All customers will have to wear face coverings and keep 6 feet apart while standing in line, the agency said in a news release.

People will be asked to wait outside the building until they get a text to come inside. And because entry into the building will be metered, customers may experience extended wait times, officials said.

“Californians who do not have an urgent need to go to a DMV field office should delay their visit,” DMV officials said.

The rest of the DMV’s 170 public offices are expected to reopen in phases during the coming weeks, the agency said. In the meantime, employees at the still shuttered offices will continue to provide services through the Virtual Field Office.

Officials said they picked the 25 locations that can reopen first based on their size and ability to serve customers with the modifications needed to maintain physical distancing.

DMV offices in these cities are opening Friday:

ArletaBakersfieldCarmichaelConcordFontana
FresnoFullertonGlendaleInglewoodLancaster
Los AngelesModestoMontebelloOakland ClaremontPalm Desert
ReddingSalinasSan Diego NormalSan FranciscoSan Jose DLPC
San MarcosSanta AnaSanta RosaStocktonYuba City

The offices will open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Wednesday when they will open at 9 a.m.

At the locations, customers will be able to pay registration fees for impounded vehicles, reinstate suspended or revoked driver’s licenses, apply for a reduced-fee or no-fee identification card, complete commercial driver’s license transactions, apply for a disabled person parking placards, get an ambulance certificate or firefighter endorsement added to their ID card or verify a transit training document to drive a transit bus.

DMV Express customers can also process REAL ID transactions, “if time and space allows,” officials said.

Behind-the-wheel driving tests are still suspended, the agency said.

To protect against the spread of the coronavirus, employees will have disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer, and wear facial shields and gloves, the agency said. The DMV also will provide hand washing stations for customers to use.

Even with some offices opening across the state, DMV officials said people should continue to use online services for driver’s license and vehicle registration renewals.

“In order to focus field office services to these select transactions, DMV staff may direct customers to online services and other available options to complete their transactions,” the agency said.

After closing its field offices in late March, the DMV has been expanding its ability to cater to customers online. Residents can now complete most DMV transactions virtually, authorities said.

Officials have also extended deadlines to renew expiring licenses and registrations.

The DMV is also reopening 10 industry business centers to help process in-person business-related transactions.

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