Staff shortages related to medical issues have shut down Maryville’s Department of Motor Vehicles branch, and it’s not going to open for another week.
Officials at the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security told The Daily Times on Monday the DMV branch at 318 Home Ave. will reopen Aug. 18; it’s been closed since Aug. 4 because of the staff shortage.
TDHS Communications Director Wesley Moster said that shortage came about because of “health reasons.”
He would not say whether the closing was related to COVID-19.
When asked about policies employed when someone in a DMV branch contracts the virus, Moster said staff follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
The closest options for Blount residents who need license-related service, including reinstatements, are in West Knox County at 430 Montbrook Lane.
There are also branches at 1220 Graduate Drive in Sevierville and in Oak Ridge at 4785 Oak Ridge Turnpike.
According to TDHS, summer months often mean longer wait times. In July 2019, the average wait time was 45 minutes.
Before it temporarily closed for two weeks, Maryville DMV staff were having drivers sit in their cars and wait to be served outside, leading to several-hour wait times for some, according to reporting from The Daily Times in March.
Branches employ different kinds of social distancing and mask-wearing now, but TDHS is also pushing online services for things like license renewal, address change and fee payment.
Staff also are encouraging drivers to schedule appointments at tn.gov/safety.
Though 2020 was the year Tennessee airports would begin requiring a REAL ID to fly on commercial flights and enter federal buildings, efforts to decrease social gatherings have put that deadline off. Originally, REAL ID laws were set to go into effect Oct. 1.
That deadline has been moved to Oct. 1, 2021.
Moster was not sure if DMV branches had specific policies governing cleaning policies or contact tracing in buildings hampered by COVID-19.