The Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles on Friday temporarily suspended all non-commercial driving skills tests statewide after one drive examiner in Las Vegas contracted coronavirus, according to a news release.
“We’re taking this brief pause to re-evaluate our protocols. Even though our examiners have been wearing personal protective equipment, the driver and the examiner sit in close proximity during a test. We must continue to put the safety of the public and our employees first,” said DMV Director Julie Butler.
The examiner, based at the West Flamingo office, reported feeling ill prior to reporting for work on Wednesday, June 17, and has not worked since. The examiner was wearing full personal protective equipment, including a face shield, mask, gloves and gown during all tests performed on Monday and Tuesday. Drive tests resumed this past Monday for the first time since the department closed on March 16 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The case has been reported to the Southern Nevada Health District for investigation. No further information will be released due to ADA and HIPPA privacy laws. Employees and individuals with whom the examiner may have come into contact will be notified by the Health District.
Driving skills tests will resume on Monday, June 22. Drive examiners will continue to wear full personal protective equipment. For their own safety and for the safety of the examiners, driving test applicants will now be required, instead of encouraged, to also wear face coverings. The department will continue taking the temperatures of driving test applicants before administering the test and will initiate daily temperature checks of staff starting next week, in addition to precautionary measures like self-assessments of symptoms.
“We know there is a huge demand for drive tests and we apologize for this temporary disruption in services while we continually look for the safest and most efficient ways to serve the public,” Butler said.
The drive test area at the West Flamingo office has been cordoned off. The department is planning a deep cleaning of the facility on Saturday, June 20, during a previously-planned closure.
DMV offices remain open for general services. The Department of Motor Vehicles has met or exceeded all relevant guidelines related to operating its facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The offices received repeated deep cleanings during the COVID-19 closure and are fully stocked with cleaning supplies. Sneeze shields have been installed. Employees were brought back to work two weeks prior to reopening to receive training on social distancing and to physically prepare the facilities. Face masks are required for staff members, who have also been required to agree in writing to self-monitoring and reporting of any COVID exposure or illness.
In a separate development, the DMV is also reopening its appointment services to the public and, beginning Monday, June 22, will serve only customers with appointments at the offices in Carson City, Henderson, Las Vegas and Reno.
The change will help eliminate the long lines that have formed outside the offices since the DMV resumed limited in-person services June 15. Procedures at rural and commercial offices will not change.
Appointment scheduling for both general services and drive tests will be available on the DMV website, dmvnv.com. DMV staff has already been making appointments for customers who weren’t served immediately at the field offices.
“We thank our customers for their cooperation over the past week as we took care of those with the most urgent needs,” said Director Butler said. “We’re ready to go with appointments, but I want to stress that our other reopening procedures haven’t changed. If you can drive legally, please delay your DMV visit until mid-July or later. Visit our website first.”