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County DMVs could reopen in Phase 3

SARANAC LAKE — Local Department of Motor Vehicle offices are being asked to remain closed to in-person transactions until the North County region enters Phase 3 of reopening, a state DMV spokesperson said Wednesday.

“To protect public health and safety during the pandemic, county clerks may accept transactions by mail or drop box, but are advised to wait until their regions enter Phase 3 of reopening to offer in-person transactions,” said Lisa Koumjian, assistant commissioner of communications for the state DMV.

If the region continues to hit all seven state-imposed benchmarks, this area could move into Phase 3 as soon as next Friday. Phase 3 would include the reopening of dine-in service at restaurants and other food services.

To move into the next phase of reopening, the region has to continue to see a 14-day decline in net hospitalizations and deaths, the number of new people who are hospitalized needs to remain under two per 100,000 residents on average every three days, the total number of available hospital beds and intensive care unit beds needs to stay above 30%, there need to be at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents or enough tracers based on the infection rate, and the number of tests processed needs to continue meeting a set threshold. If the region hits all those benchmarks and the regional “control room” — essentially a state-appointed advisory group — gives the OK, the local data would then be sent to Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, and Samir Bhatt, senior lecturer at Imperial College London, two experts partnering with the state to analyze that data and determine whether it’s safe to move forward.

The Essex County DMV office is currently available over the phone from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays at 518-873-3601. Both the Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga locations are closed to in-person transactions.

Some forms can be dropped off in a drop box at the county DMV office, according to county Clerk Joseph Provoncha. The office can also be reached through mail, and the office is, in turn, mailing out things like license plates and registration stickers in lieu of offering in-office pick-up.

The Franklin County Department of Motor Vehicles offices in Malone and Saranac Lake are available by phone at 518-481-1606 and 518-891-1748, respectively. Franklin County DMV Supervisor Lynn Goyea deferred a request for more information to County Clerk Kip Cassavaw, who did not respond to requests for more information.

Many DMV services are also now available online through the state DMV, including vehicle registrations and plate transfers, license plate surrenders, sales tax-only transactions, license and registration renewals, lost documents replacements and address changes. Visit dmv.ny.gov for more information.

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