PLYMOUTH, Minn. (FOX 9) - Fourteen DVS driver’s license exam stations across Minnesota opened Tuesday with new safety precautions in place amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the locations saw long lines with waits lasting hours.
Officials with the Department of Public Safety say technical problems with the driver license camera system at all 14 offices and a virtual lobby pilot program at Town Square contributed to the backups.
Currently, people are able to take written tests, apply for learner’s permits and take motorcycle and commercial driver’s license tests. Road tests for the most common driver’s license, class D, will not begin until May 26. Priority will be given to the more than 12,000 people whose tests were canceled during Gov. Tim Walz’s stay-at-home order.
The exam stations opened at 8 a.m. By noon, the downtown St. Paul location had already reached the maximum number of people who could take the knowledge test and was unable to offer an additional tests for the remainder of the day, according to DVS.
Photos shared by a FOX 9 viewer showed the line to get into the exam station extending down the block.
The line outside of the DVS exam station in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday, May 19.
At the exam station in Plymouth, cars began lining up more than two hours before the gates opened. The Plymouth location is one of five exam stations reopening in the Twin Cities metro. Nine exam stations in greater Minnesota are also reopening.
"We knew this was the first day and we wanted come today because I wanted to come before the road test people because that just added to the craziness,” said Dana Herman, who was also in line at the Plymouth exam station before it opened, accompanied by her daughter who was hoping to get her learner’s permit. “There’s a wait at the DMV on a good day. So, we just figured will wait on the side of it maybe be the first ones in the building hopefully get her in and out once they open."
DVS has implemented safety measures to protect customers and staff during the pandemic.
Staff are wearing face masks and gloves. Customers are encouraged to wear masks as well.
Customers also have to answer a short questionnaire and have their temperature taken before entering the exam station.
For road tests, applicants must wipe down their vehicle with DVS-provided sanitizing wipes before the test begins. DVS examiners will still ride in the vehicle and will wear personal protective equipment.