The Cortland County Department of Motor Vehicle is open once again after having to fully shut down in April when lines at the only drive-through DMV window in the state extended around the parking lot and down the street.
“In order to restrict the number of people in the DMV and distance we’re going by appointment,” said County Clerk Elizabeth Larkin, who oversees the department. “The comment so far has been over the top positive.”
The DMV had originally been meeting with people by appointment in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, but was closed down by the governor, along with all other DMV offices in the state.
The county then tried to do transactions through the drive-through window, but so many people traveled from other counties to get paperwork done that lines of cars circled the parking lot and stretched down the adjacent street. In late April, the DMV had to shut down the window, too.
On Saturday Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that DMVs could open by appointment.
Cortland did; it’s been busy ever since, Larkin said.
Make an appointment
Call: 607-428-5414 Schedule an appointment beginning Monday
Website: www.cortland-co.org/181/ Department-of-Motor-Vehicles
Appointments are scheduled as far out as July 23, although some earlier appointment times remain open. The staff typically sees about 40 people a day.
“Literally as soon as you hang the phone up, it’s ringing again,” Larkin said.
However, she said people will be able to schedule appointments online beginning Monday.
People can also begin scheduling drivers tests starting Tuesday.
Many people are coming in to get their licenses renewed, Larkin said, with March through August being one of the busiest times in 10 years for renewals and new licenses as people look to get a Real ID or enhanced licenses, which will be required to fly within the U.S.
Appointments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays are strictly for licenses; Tuesdays and Thursdays are for all other things, Larkin said.
However, although the DMV has been busy, its staff isn’t seeing the long lines it had before.
“We’re not down at the DMV,” said Charlie Sudbrink, the county highway superintendent, whose staff had been directing traffic there. “There’s other DMVs open in the state, so it’s not been an issue.”
Larkin said she is still encouraging people to use the drive-through when they can. People can ask questions through the drive-through window or even get paperwork.
People must wear a mask when entering the DMV. Spaces are sectioned out to be 6 feet apart and plexiglass shields have been installed.