Secretary of State offices will begin reopening June 1 with an initial focus on drivers who couldn’t get the services they needed during the last 2½ months during various stay-at-home orders.
Most facilities outside of the Chicago area will not reopen until June 2. The exception is the facility in Springfield on Dirksen Parkway that will reopen June 1.
During the first two months driver services facilities are open, they will focus only on serving new drivers, people with expired driver’s licenses and state ID cards and those who need vehicle transactions such as titles. The secretary of state’s office said there are more than 700,000 expired licenses and ID cards that need to be renewed and 1.9 million expired license stickers.
During that time, people are encouraged to continue using the secretary of state’s web site to conduct business with the office. People can obtain new license plate stickers, obtain a duplicate driver’s license or ID card, obtain a driving record abstract or renew a license through the Safe Driver Renewal program. The secretary of state web site is located at cyberdriveillinois.com.
Some people, though, will need to take a vision test or a behind-the-wheel test which will require them to visit a facility in-person. Those who go to an office must wear a mask unless they are medically unable to do so. Henry Haupt, a spokesman for Secretary of State Jesse White, said Plexiglas dividers have been installed in driver services offices to separate customers from staff and markings have been placed on the floors to indicate where people must be to maintain social distancing.
At this time, though, there is no plan to require people to make appointments in order to control the number of people who may show up at one time.
“We’re going to have the staff that are assigned to work with our customers as they arrive to ensure there is social distancing going on both inside the facility and outside,” Haupt said. “We are still strongly encouraging people to go online if it is a transaction they can do online.”
Haupt said there will be limits on the number of people who are allowed inside a facility at one time.
“There will be limits, but it depends. Every facility is different. Some are larger than others. Some are configured differently,” Haupt said.
Employees will wear masks and face shields when administering behind-the-wheel tests that put them in close proximity to drivers. Customers will be required to wear face masks during the tests unless they are medically unable to. Disposable plastic will be used to cover vehicle seats during the tests.
People do not have to rush to the facilities to renew licenses, Haupt said because “all expirations have been extended at least 90 days from the governor’s disaster proclamation executive order.” At this time, that means a person would have until the end of August to renew a license or ID that has expired and license stickers that have expired.
Also, the federal government has extended the deadline until Oct. 1, 2021, to obtain a REAL ID that will be needed to board flights and visit some federal facilities.
Tuesday through Saturday facilities outside of the Chicago metropolitan area are open from 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. They are open Saturday from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m.
The Dirksen Parkway facility in Springfield is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
During the time the driver facilities have been closed, people have turned to the online option to do business with the secretary of state’s office. Usage of the web site is up by 50 percent since the facilities closed.
During that time the office has processed 350,000 titles online since mid-March, 200,000 drivers licenses and IDs and nearly 800,000 license stickers.
Contact Doug Finke: email@example.com, 788-1527, twitter.com/dougfinkesjr.