The 79 branches of the Office of Motor Vehicles throughout Louisiana will be shut indefinitely as of Friday, state government officials announced Thursday.

They took the decision both to allow OMV employees to be home with their children and relatives and to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus at OMV offices.

“We don’t have plexiglass in every office,” Karen St. Germain, the secretary of the agency, said in an interview.

The OMV processes such requests as titling a vehicle, obtaining a driver’s license or reinstating one that had been canceled.

Going to an OMV office has been no picnic.

People who go to one of the offices in Louisiana’s biggest eight cities have had to wait an average of 70 minutes, according to a recent report, up from 58 minutes in 2016.

The main office in Lafayette, on Evangeline Thruway, doesn't have enough parking. This can requires customers to circle the lot several times before finding a place to park.

While the offices are closed, the agency’s online services will remain open.

And anyone with an expired license or vehicle tag won’t be ticketed before May 10, Louisiana State Police announced.


Email Tyler Bridges at tbridges@theadvocate.com.