coronavirus

Despite Coronavirus Concerns, Long Lines as Mass. RMV Locations Reopen

Dozens of people could be seen queued up outside at a time when the state is urging social distancing and banning gatherings of over 25 people

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Seven Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles customer service locations across Massachusetts reopened Wednesday, drawing long lines of customers at a time when state officials are urging social distancing due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Aerial video from NBC10 Boston's Sky Ranger helicopter showed dozens of people waiting in line at the Boston/Haymarket RMV office -- somewhere between 50 and 100 in all.

Most of those interviewed said they were there for driver's licenses or driver's license renewals. Some said they've been in line for 45 minutes.

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Despite state officials urging people to social distance amid the coronavirus outbreak, long lines of customers formed outside seven Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles locations on Wednesday as they reopened.

"I think you should stay home if you don't have to come," said one person outside the Boston/Haymarket RMV. "I had to come because (my license) is expired, but if you don't have to come, stay home."

Janice Taylor brought her mother to the RMV on Wednesday morning.

"It seems like they've got it going on," she said. "They've got every other counter, they're only taking in so many customers at a time and there's someone wiping the counters off and wiping all the equipment that you touch."

Similar crowds were reported at the Brockton and Lawrence RMVs as well.

This is the scene outside the Lawrence RMV on Wednesday morning.

In addition to the Boston/Haymarket, Lawrence and Brockton locations, customer service centers in Fall River, Pittsfield, Plymouth and Worcester also reopened Wednesday.

The RMV had asked customers not to bring multiple individuals with them to reduce facility volume and urged those who can to conduct their business online, by phone or by mail. They said they will be limiting the number of people allowed inside service centers, and once those limits are reached customers will be asked to leave and come back or wait outside.

"The RMV is trying to offer necessary in-person transactions while striking a balance between protecting the health and safety of the public," Acting Registrar Jamey Tesler said in a statement.

In recent days, state officials have told residents to observe social distancing, and Gov. Charlie Baker has closed schools and restaurants and banned gatherings of 25 or more people in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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