LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As the state plans to lift capacity limits and fully reopen by June 1, those trying to make an appointment at the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles might wonder if the change will help with longer-than-normal lines at offices around the Las Vegas valley.
For much of the pandemic, online services have been available through the DMV, which has also been open for in-person services in a limited capacity since June 2020.
For now, the DMV says it does not plan to change operations by June 1 and continues to recommend utilizing its online services whenever possible.
Those who need to visit in person can make an appointment in advance.
“I was able to get an appointment but that was by a random stroke of chance," said Hector Fong, echoing the sentiment of other DMV goers who say making an appointment has taken time, patience and a bit of luck.
"It was definitely very difficult the days prior trying to get an appointment," he said. "It was months and months and months of grayed-out dates."
"I think someone had canceled," he said.
Fong ended up going to a DMV branch far from his home but was able to make it and register his car.
“A lot of our transactions are already back to pre-COVID levels," said Kevin Malone, a department spokesperson. "Like the new residents, vehicle registrations, even."
"The problem is," he explained, "that we have a pent-up demand due to the COVID close, so is not just a question of flipping the switch and going back to normal."
Malone says the DMV wants to operate in a safe manner, taking into account the locations and staff it currently has.
He also says the department needs more employees.
"We have to plan this very carefully," Malone said. "We have some staffing shortage, we're going to have to hire some people and ramp it up slowly."
The DMV says many services can be completed online and that showing up in person should be the last resort.
The department also wants to remind people not to fall victim to reported "appointment buying" scams.
The DMV says you cannot buy an appointment, there is no charge to make one, and if your information doesn't match the information used to book the appointment you will be turned away.
To check the list of available online services visit dmv.com.
EXTRA: Daily Debrief with Astrid Mendez and Amy Abdelsayed