CARMICHAEL (CBS13) – The California Department of Motor Vehicles had to turn away customers after reopening 25 field offices throughout the state to only serve transactions and appointments requiring in-person visits.

Joe Perez said he lined up early Friday morning at the Carmichael DMV to register his car but was turned away.

“They said it’s not an emergency situation so I could just go online and get it done,” Perez said.

Perez wasn’t the only one turned way as hundreds showed up with high hopes of being served.

“Register my car and take my drivers test – hopefully I can do that today,” Daeja Brown said. Brown said she was turned away, too.

The DMV said when announcing the reopening of the 25 field offices amid the coronavirus pandemic that the move is to serve transactions that can only be completed at a field office, including:

  • Paying registration for a vehicle impounded because of registration-related issues
  • Reinstating a driver license
  • Applications for reduced-fee or no-fee identification cards
  • Processing commercial driver license transactions
  • Applications for disabled person parking placards
  • Adding an ambulance certificate or firefighter endorsement to a driver license
  • Verifying a transit training document to drive a transit bus.
  • Processing DMV Express customers for REAL ID transactions, if time and space allows

The agency also did say that customers who didn’t require an in-person visit would be turned away.

“They did tell me I could mail in my renewal with my fee and then they waived the vision test,” customer Renee Morgan said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the green light for DMV offices to reopen with the implementation of new safety protocols.

To protect customers and DMV employees the agency is maintaining social distancing efforts by keeping at least six feet between people waiting in line and placing handwashing stations in field offices. Masks are required upon entry and gloves are recommended.

For those directed to online DMV services, the process was easy.

“I uploaded all the docs. Everything was done, so I was fortunate,” Sanhita Bandyopadhyo said.

But for Perez, he said the energy and time wasted away from his early weekend was frustrating.

“I will be out on the river today,” said Joe.