Coronavirus in Florida: Simple tasks like visiting DMV and renewing driver’s license increasingly difficult

MIAMI – If you've tried to make an appointment with the DMV recently, you've probably noticed the process is even slower during the coronavirus pandemic.

One woman told Local 10 News the wait time nearly led to her arrest.

Anna Shvab is still shaken as she describes trying to explain why her license was expired when a Florida Highway Patrol trooper pulled her over for a right of way violation Saturday morning in Marathon.

“I kept trying to explain and he didn’t want to listen and he just said if I keep talking I’m going to jail,” she said.

Shvab’s license has been expired just over six months, a criminal violation punishable by up to 60 days in jail.

But like so many other South Floridians, she’s been unable to fix the problem.

"I received a notice that I have to go in office due to my immigration status," Shvab explained.

Shvab, a PHD candidate at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, recently became a permanent resident, which means she has to renew her driver's license in person.

When she noticed her temporary license was expired, state offices were already shut down due to COVID-19. They only reopened in June and then, only with an appointment.

"When they reopened the offices, it was impossible to get an appointment," she said.

Then things got even harder for Shvab after she caught COVID-19 at the end of June and was sick for nearly a month.

“I had high fever, I was extremely fatigued and there were days I couldn’t get out of bed,” she said.

The state does let drivers apply for temporary licenses due to the pandemic, but not Shvab. She received an email Tuesday telling her they’re unable to provide her a temporary permit, and to instead visit her local office.

"I, as a resident and a taxpayer, I should be able to receive these essential services," she said.

There has been no official word on when these essential services will be increased. A department spokesperson told Local 10 they’ve added Saturday hours to some offices.

“We’re proactively reviewing appointments to verify that the customer is required to complete their transaction in-person at an office,” said Aaron Keller-communications director FLHSMV. “This helps to ensure there are more appointments available, and we believe it will reduce the rate of no shows.”

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