Utah DMV will reopen lobby service — after weeks of hourslong drive-up lines

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file phto) A long line of cars at the South Valley DMV office in Draper on April 10, 2020.

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After weeks of waits of up to six hours for its drive-up service during the coronavirus outbreak, the Utah Division of Motor Vehicles will reopen lobby service at five of its largest and busiest offices Friday — by appointment only.

“We hope that as we enter our busy time of year that this will assist some of the individuals that can’t get their renewals done timely,” Monte Roberts, DMV director, said Wednesday during a news conference.

Lobby service initially will be available at five DMV offices, in Ogden, Farmington, Salt Lake City, Draper and Provo. Schedules and services for other state and county DMV offices are listed at dmv.utah.gov. Appointments may also be made at that website.

With the return of lobby service, recently extended hours for drive-up operations will return to normal — Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Roberts said people arriving with appointments will be treated like those with a Fast Pass at Disneyland — and will be served quickly — while others showing up unexpectedly will be helped to make an appointment and may need to return later.

“You can make an appointment before you show up or we can assist you make an appointment when you show up,” he said. “If you already have an appointment, then all we have to do is check you in.”

Appointments may be made for title and registration, disabled placards, impound release, revoked registration, insurance reinstatement and other urgent-need transactions.

Where possible, Roberts said, the state still encourages residents to handle license plate renewals online — or at on-the-spot emissions testing centers that also can provide registration decals. He said the department asks all visitors to wear face masks and to follow social distancing rules.

On Wednesday night, Gov. Gary Herbert also issued an executive order that suspends enforcement of vehicle registration laws through May 15. He said the order is to grant a time-limited leniency period for Utahns to navigate closures and the new appointment-only system at DMV.