The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration (MDOT MVA) reopened select branches Monday morning as part of the state’s effort to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than a dozen branches across the state reopened to serve customers by appointment only. The reopening plan is designed to reduce foot traffic and limit the number of customers in branch offices at any time.
“We are making the necessary adjustments to our procedures to ensure a healthy and safe environment for our employees and customers.” said MDOT MVA Administrator Chrissy Nizer.
While certain MDOT MVA branches reopened periodically over the past few months for commercial driver’s license (CDL) services – serving more than 500 commercial drivers during that time – Monday was the first time customers seeking non-commercial licenses were allowed inside these facilities since March. Throughout the morning, employees greeted customers and each other enthusiastically.
For Ruth Olaitan, who secured the first appointment of the day at the MDOT MVA Glen Burnie branch, the process went off without a hitch. She was there for tag and titling services.
“It’s really awesome and really organized,” she said. “So, you can go online, get your appointment and come over. It’s really perfect and safe.”
MDOT MVA put numerous safety measures in place.
All employees and customers are screened before entry and required to wear masks.
Plexiglass was installed at service stations to create barriers between customers and employees.
On the floor and sidewalks, MDOT MVA employees installed brightly colored stickers – in the shape of feet – with instructions to stand at least 6 feet apart.
In addition, employees were given “goody bags” that contained masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and other items.
MDOT MVA also modified its driving test to allow the instructor to stand outside the vehicle and score the customer’s performance from there.
To make an appointment for a branch visit, go to mvascheduling.mva.maryland.gov.
Even with the safety procedures at the branches, Administrator Nizer said customers should still attempt to complete whatever services they can online at the MDOT MVA eStore or at self-service kiosks to avoid branch visits. MDOT MVA employees completed more than 740,000 transactions online while branches were closed.
“While our branch offices may have been shut down, MDOT MVA employees were very much on the job,” Administrator Nizer said.
Tajah Toran, a customer agent at the Glen Burnie branch, said the extra measures that were put in place helped make employees feel “comfortable and safe.”
“Everybody is ready to work,” she said.
While Toran is excited about reconnecting with coworkers she hasn’t seen in months, she’s also happy about the return of customers. As part of her job, she works with customers seeking learner’s permits, driver’s licenses and identification cards, among her many duties.
“I’ve met a lot of different people from all over the world, but you get a different smile every time,” she said. “So, it’s nice to see different people (and) have conversations with all types of people you might not have ever talked to before. But, also, being able to help out everyone and understand the stress they’re going through, and being able to alleviate that – they’re walking out of here with a smile.”