COVID-19 prompts NCDMV to close licensing offices on Saturdays

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Tanika Williams, the lead examiner at the DMV's new driver's license office in Raleigh East on New Bern Avenue, walks around the room where clients meet with examiners.  DMV suspended Saturday hours at 16 driver's license offices statewide.

Tanika Williams, the lead examiner at the DMV’s new driver’s license office in Raleigh East on New Bern Avenue, walks around the room where clients meet with examiners. DMV suspended Saturday hours at 16 driver’s license offices statewide.

rstradling@newsobserver.com

The NC division of motor vehicles has announced that it will temporarily suspend the hours of operation of its driver’s license offices on Saturdays in order to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

The move affects 16 DMV offices which are normally open on Saturdays, including two in Charlotte and one each in Durham, Raleigh and Huntersville.

Offices only see walk-in clients on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon and can be crowded. Additionally, employees who work on these days often come from other offices and may take the coronavirus with them if exposed.

The DMV initially removed Saturday hours when it closed more than half of its driver’s license offices in the first few weeks of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. The agency resumed service on Saturdays in a small number. office space in May as she prepared for summer, her busiest season.

This coincided with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in North Carolina, fueled largely by the more contagious delta variant of the virus. August was the deadliest month for COVID-19 in the state since February, with 788 deaths attributed to the virus.

DMV says it will keep its offices closed on Saturdays until it determines it is safe to reopen them. The offices concerned are David Taylor Drive and West Arrowhead Road in Charlotte; Rue Roxboro Sud in Durham; Spring Forest Road in Raleigh; and Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road in Huntersville.

The DMV encourages people to check if they can complete their business online before going to a driver’s license office. A list of online services is available at www.ncdot.gov/dmv/offices-services/online/.

The agency has 111 driver’s license offices open on weekdays across the state. People are encouraged to make an appointment up to 90 days in advance, but walk-ins are welcome.

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Richard Stradling covers transport for The News & Observer. Planes, trains and automobiles, as well as ferries, bicycles, scooters and quite simply on foot. Also, hospitals during the coronavirus epidemic. He has been a journalist or editor for 34 years, the last 22 of which at The N&O. 919-829-4739, rstradling@newsobserver.com.


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