Drivers license office in Nags Head to remain closed until state enters Phase 3

The Nags Head DMV has been closed since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic [photo by Sam Walker]

The N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles drivers license office in Nags Head, which has been closed since mid-March, will stay that way until Gov. Roy Cooper eases the current restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“DMV is hoping to reopen the Nags Head office when it is safe to do so and when we have staffing in place,” said NCDMV spokesperson John Brockwell. “That is anticipated to happen during Phase III.”

The current Safer-At-Home, Phase II order is set to expire on August 6, but has already been extended twice by Cooper.

The Nags Head office was one of 60 license offices across North Carolina after Cooper issued the original stay-at-home order.

They were closed because they either had the fewest examiner stations or office setups that make it difficult to provide customers with space recommended by the CDC.

The Dare County Board of Commissioners on Wednesday sent letters to state Rep. Bobby Hanig, Sen. Bob Steinburg, and N.C. Board of Transportation Division One representative Allen Moran, asking for their assistance in getting the office reopened.

“Although the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles offers many services for online completion, there is certainly still a need for our county to have easier access to an office,” the letter signed by board chairman Bob Woodard states.

The closest drivers license offices to Dare County that have remained open during the pandemic have been in Elizabeth City, Washington and Ahoskie.

Appointments are required, and social distancing guidelines limit the number of people allowed in the offices at any one time.

“The round trip from Nags Head to Elizabeth City is approximately two and half hours,” Woodard said.

“Additionally, many residents do not have easy access to a computer for web-based services; and using a cell phone to complete online registration renewals, etc. can be frustrating and time-consuming,” Woodard said.

In the letters, commissioners asked that the Nags Head office be opened at least for limited time during the week.

“Surely the office here could implement the guidelines recommended by the CDC in order to safely reopen and accept a few customers each day,” Woodard said.

“Dare County has encouraged and will continue to support the utilization of on-line or “drop-off” services for many of the daily and typical service needs of our community; however, with proper social distancing and/or use of protective equipment, we meet with local citizens when necessary,” Woodard noted.

Brockwell said that along with the Nags Head office, 37 other NCDMV drivers license offices were still closed as of Friday.

The closures did not impact license plate agencies, including at Island Pharmacy in Manteo and Sur-Pak in Moyock, which operate as independent contractors to the state.

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