Bear to get new DMV center

Life in Delaware passes a milestone in the journey to a return to normalcy Tuesday, but that could be a return to some things you might not have missed--like lines at the DMV. 

"We had a series of COVID restrictions in place in various capacities throughout the past year-and-a-half," said the DMV's Chief of Communications Marinah Carver. "We're restoring a lot of the services that we had offered pre-COVID, in the way that we had offered them."

With the expiration of Governor John Carney's State of Emergency declaration at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, Delaware will hit a return to freedom of operation it has not known since March 13, 2020. 

"Delawareans pulled together over this past year and made real sacrifices to limit the spread of COVID-19, protect their neighbors, and save lives," said Carney. "It wasn’t easy, and some sacrificed more than others. But I believe we’ll come out of this pandemic stronger for it. As we emerge from this crisis, let’s remember the 1,695 Delawareans we lost to COVID-19, and recommit to working together to build the future of our great state."

Carver noted some things, like Class C driver's tests and eye exams will continue to have some precautions in place, but there's still time to get caught up on paperwork and late fees if motorists have fallen behind during the pandemic: 

"Late fees will be assessed beginning August 2nd. Anything that is expired or needs to be renewed should be done so prior to that date, if customers are looking to avoid the late fees," she said. "We have a precedent now in place. If we ever need to scale back our operations like we have been, we're prepared to do that. We've kept track of all the changes, the dates, the processes. So we have that in our back pocket, if needed. But yes, the masks will not be required in the buildings after July 13 for anyone who has been fully vaccinated. We're just following CDC guidance there."

The job the division has done in the face of such difficult circumstances is commendable, Carver said, and she hopes more bodies just means more ways to serve Delawareans. 

"The [DMV's] employees consist of a large and diverse group, and they've remained very committed to demonstrating the first class service from the First State, both prior to and during COVID-19 operational restrictions," she said. "Their service to the public in the face of these changes truly is to be commended. The Division remains open to any feedback from staff, but the consensus does seem to be that resuming those regular operations will just equip the division for more excellently and more efficiency."

Beginning Tuesday, the DMV will feature the following changes to operations: 

  • DMV buildings will return to full capacity. Further, face coverings recommendations will follow CDC guidance—while not required, all customers who have not been fully vaccinated are encouraged to continue wearing face coverings while at DMV.
  • Driver license/vehicle registration suspensions for bad checks will resume, as will uninsured motorist customer notifications for any outstanding balance owed to DMV.
  • Pre-COVID Class D road tests and counter eye exams will resume, with specific guidance in place from DPH to protect both customers and staff. Please follow all instructions received from DMV and staff when utilizing either of these services.

"The division's been through, of course, many challenges like we all have during this time," Carver said. "And it's just really important that we were able to remain open, I'm very thankful for that. There were certain requirements that we needed to follow for sure. But by remaining open, we were able to continue testing for CDL drivers, which were very high demand. We were able to reduce any title backlog for vehicle purchases made during the pandemic, and just generally improve our existing systems and processes. So it's definitely been a chapter that taught us a lot. But I think it's safe to say we're thankful to be where we are now: moving forward."