LOWELL – The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles will reopen eight of its 30 customer service facilities Thursday — but with new protocols.
The following facilities will open until further notice: Boston/Haymarket, Brockton, Fall River, Lawrence, Pittsfield, Plymouth, Springfield and Worcester. Hearings will be conducted in all locations except Plymouth. Hearings in Pittsfield will occur every Wednesday, beginning March 25.
On Wednesday, more than 100 people waited shoulder-to-shoulder outside the Haymarket Center RMV in Boston. It was announced that a limited number of people would be allowed inside at once to maintain social distancing — but by about noon, the wait to get inside the building was more than three hours.
In light of the pandemic, the open RMV facilities will only prioritize services that cannot be completed online, by phone, or by mail, according to a Massachusetts Department of Transportation news release.
A limited number of tickets will be issued to customers on a first-come, first-serve basis. All others will be asked to return another day. Customers will be served in two waves, designated by the tickets: from 9 a.m.-noon, or from noon to 5 p.m.
“The RMV is offering priority ticketing for those customers who have essential business that cannot wait as we must strike a balance between continuing with business transactions while protecting the health and safety of the public,” Acting Registrar Jamey Tesler said in the news release.
To reduce traffic at the open facilities, the RMV discourages customers from bringing others with them. AAA locations will continue to offer select RMV services to its members.
All road tests will be suspended indefinitely, according to the release. Learner’s permits, ID cards and Class D and DM driver’s licenses set to expire between March 1, and April 30 will continue to be active until 60 days after the printed expiration date.
MassDOT urges those eligible for the extension not to visit an RMV or AAA center to renew credentials until the state of emergency is lifted.
Those with commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or those whose end of stay in the United States is the same as the expiration date on their credentials will not be eligible for the extension, according to the release.
“Class D and M road tests will resume only after cleaning, personal protective equipment and social distancing protocols have been put in place to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission for permit holders, road test examiners and others who accompany permit holders for their tests,” the MassDOT release states.
“While we will have eight Registry of Motor Vehicles Service Centers open to address the needs of residents and business customers, we ask the public to respect the new protocols – that only those customers visit who do not have a credential extension, who have an immediate deadline, or who cannot conduct their business online, by phone, or by mail,” Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack announced in the news release.
The RMV has adopted new cleaning protocols, purchased additional touchless hand sanitizer stations, given employees disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, and expanded disinfecting, according to the release.
Even after all service centers closed this week, the RMV has continued critical work, including processing in-state and out-of-state convictions and mail.
For more information or to access online services, visit mass.gov/rmv.