California DMV Offices Close Due to COVID-19 Outbreak

California DMV Offices Close Due to COVID-19 Outbreak
A Department of Motor Vehicles worker (R) speaks with a man who did not have an appointment at an appointment desk in front of the DMV building, with a cone used to implement social distancing in Los Angeles, California, on March 23, 2020. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Isabel van Brugen

California’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) announced Thursday it is temporarily closing its field offices statewide and will shift to online services in an attempt to stem the spread of COVID-19.

All field offices across the state of California will be closed beginning Friday, March 27 and will reopen virtually on April 2, as the agency takes steps “to address employee health and safety concerns, including public contact and increasing social distancing between individuals,” DMV Field Operations Deputy Director Coleen Solomon wrote in a memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times Thursday.
In a release (pdf), the DMV announced the cancellation of all in-office appointments, as the agency moves to shift operations online for when it reopens virtually. The DMV urged customers to check its website for future appointment availability.

“The DMV is concerned about the health and safety of its customers, including seniors and those at risk for COVID-19,” the release states.

The DMV said its “Virtual Field Office” will allow customers to interact with its staff online to complete transactions that would have previously required an in-person office visit.

Starting April 2, customers will be able to complete vehicle title transfers and complex vehicle registration renewals by visiting the DMV website. Other services available online include renewing a drivers license or identification card, and registering a change of address.

“The DMV will gradually add more transactions to continue to provide alternatives to an in-person office visit,” the agency noted.

Its offices will be cleaned and disinfected from March 27 to 31, according to the Los Angeles Times. Employees will be placed on paid administrative until they return to work on April 1 to begin training on the DMV Virtual Field Office.

The agency did not state when its field offices will reopen.

The measure comes a week after California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide stay at home order to combat the CCP virus.

“CA is issuing a statewide, mandatory STAY AT HOME order. Those that work in critical sectors should go to work. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, and more will stay open. We need to meet this moment and flatten the curve together,” Newsom wrote on March 19.
The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.
As of March 25, the California Department of Public Health recorded a total of  3,006 COVID-19 cases and 65 deaths.
Isabel van Brugen is an award-winning journalist. She holds a master's in newspaper journalism from City, University of London.
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