The California DMV Tuesday said it will reopen most of its 169 field offices this Thursday, which were closed in late March because of the pandemic. But the NBC4 I-Team has learned the DMV this week quietly closed three offices because of new cases of COVID-19 among employees.
An internal memo to all employees at the Montebello DMV, obtained by the I-Team, said "you have potentially been exposed to COVID-19."
The Montebello and San Pedro DMV offices were closed this week after employees at both offices tested positive for COVID-19. The fourth floor of the DMV's Sacramento headquarters was closed yesterday after an employee there tested positive. DMV told the I-Team in an email that "employees with close contact [to the positive employee] are advised to self-quarantine."
DMV says all three of those offices were closed for "sanitization." The Sacramento headquarters reopened today but San Pedro will stay closed til June 22, and Montebello remains closed, the DMV told NBC4.
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"I was so shocked and surprised that they're closed today," said Wenda Villanueva when she showed up at the Montebello DMV to try and get a drivers test for her daughter. "I checked online and it said they were open."
Even when most DMV offices reopen Thursday, they will still only offer limited services. Behind-the-wheel tests for most licenses will still not be offered.
That's frustrating to people like 16-year old Zack Solomon, who says he needs a behind-the-wheel test to get his license so he can work.
"I'm looking for a job right now and I can only look for a job that's in biking distance. It would be nice to have a license so I could drive to my job," Solomon told NBC4.
His mother, Krystal, even emailed DMV Director Steve Gordon to find out when DMV will once again be offering behind-the-wheel tests. Gordon responded "we are looking for alternatives, but these are not ready at this moment."
"They just keep saying they'll have to wait until it's safe, they'll have to wait until it's safe. And I'd like to know, does that mean we're waiting until all their examiners get vaccines? Because that's going to be a really long time," Krystal Solomon told the I-Team.
The DMV said in an email to NBC4 it will resume behind-the-wheel tests "in the coming weeks," but didn't say exactly when.