California

Coronavirus Scare Forces Shutdown of DMV Call Center, Employees Walk Out at Another Office

Tuesday, the employees at the San Pedro office handed the I-Team a note, saying, "Help us...we are worried about our families and our health...the state does not care."

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The California DMV Tuesday closed down its call center in Riverside after an employee underwent testing for possible exposure to novel coronavirus. The DMV confirmed to NBCLA that the employee tested positive.

Seventy miles west, the DMV was dealing with another crisis: employees at its San Pedro office showed up for work and told managers they were refusing to deal with the public.

"For our safety, for our family's safety, we won't deal with the public," a San Pedro DMV employee told the NBCLA I-Team.

The employee told NBCLA a handful of managers were working the windows, helping customers who had appointments.

"We don't have any more hand sanitizer, we don't have any more disinfecting wipes, we have no masks," the employee said.

In Riverside, the DMV closed its call center after one of its employee had "possible exposure to COVID-19," according to an email DMV Director Steve Gordon sent to employees. 

"The employees work very closely together in little cubicles. All of those people are going in and out of the office, touching the same door handles," a DMV Riverside employee told the I-Team.

The DMV has limited hours and only allows customers in with an appointment after an NBC4 I-Team report showed that there were potential problems with exposure during the coronavirus pandemic. Joel Grover reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, March 20, 2020.

DMV Director Gordon said in his email the Call Center will be closed  "for one day to complete the cleaning of the office."

For more than a week, DMV employees across Southern California have been telling the NBCLA I-Team that DMV offices are a breeding ground for spreading the coronavirus, even after the DMV took measures to limit the number of people in its office.

Employees at numerous offices believe the DMV should close all of its offices for at least a few weeks, but so far that hasn't happened.

Tuesday, the employees at the San Pedro office handed the I-Team a note, saying, "Help us...we are worried about our families and our health...the state does not care."

In a statement to NBCLA, the DMV said: "The DMV takes the health and safety of our employees and customers seriously. The DMV has taken many steps to limit the number of customers coming to our offices."

The statement also said the Riverside Call Center has been cleaned and cleared by the Riverside of Department of Public Health for re-occupancy tomorrow (Wednesday).

Employees at California DMV offices are possibly being exposed to the coronavirus by simply being at work. Joel Grover reported on NBC4 News at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020.
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