COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says Ohio BMV locations will not be open for in-person services until a later, unspecified date in May. Husted began his part of Monday’s coronavirus briefing by offering some clarification on the issue, as he was unable to give a complete response to my question at the previous briefing.
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On Friday however, Husted gave a brief response to our viewer question about renewing driver’s licenses in the state. On Monday, he gave a more thorough answer, saying BMV locations are working to re-open, while allowing Ohioans to “wait in line” remotely, so they can arrive at the location as it’s ready to serve them.
“The opening of the physical sites of all the BMVs around the state will not happen until later in May,” said Husted. “They’re currently working on a plan at each individual BMV, where the deputy registrars will reactivate the hiring of staff, make accommodations at the facility to ensure social distancing and safety measures, including the physical barriers and such … We are in the process of doing something we were already underway with, that is the ‘get in line online’ service, where we’re allowing people to check-in online, and that way we can space people out, they can make their reservations, and we can work through that process to make it efficient for everybody as they begin to re-engage.”
Husted said around 20 BMV locations have already been set up to accommodate for online queues, with others set to follow. There are currently five deputy registrar locations open in the state. However, they are only to issue and/or renew commercial driver licenses.
Husted concluded by reminding Ohioans of the goal behind the reopening of BMV locations: to be able to implement social distancing while reopening.
“We don’t want large crowds, we don’t want everyone rushing back. We are creating an online system to do that so that we have an orderly process for when we restart the BMVs to avoid a large rush of people coming at the same time," Husted said.
Since the passage of Ohio House Bill 197 in March, all expiration dates on licenses and other items only obtainable through the BMV have been extended while offices are still closed.