Greenfield RMV to reopen Oct. 13

  • The Registry of Motor Vehicles in Greenfield, which has been closed since March because of the pandemic, is expected to reopen Oct. 12. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 9/21/2020 5:30:49 PM

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Registry of Motor Vehicles, which has been closed since March to help slow the spread of COVID-19, is expected to reopen Tuesday, Oct. 13.

State legislators for the area said Monday that they had received emails stating the 18 Miner St. location is set to open, providing all services to the general public, starting the day after Columbus Day.

“It’s not small for people in Franklin County, for sure,” state Sen. Jo Comerford, D-Northampton, said of the reopening news.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the service center was open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Comerford said she is unsure if the building will have altered hours or days of operation.

“That’s certainly another layer to this onion,” she said.

The Western Massachusetts delegation wrote to state Department of Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack earlier this month to request the reopening of the RMV locations in Greenfield and Easthampton.

“The necessity of these additional locations becomes even clearer when you consider that residents of Western Massachusetts lack access to a public transportation system that would allow them to easily travel to any of the existing service locations,” the letter reads. “We’re confident that you share our belief that customers and staff located in the western part of the commonwealth deserve equal protections and protocols to keep them safe and healthy.”

Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner’s Office confirmed she is aware of the news that the RMV will reopen and was “thrilled to hear it.”

State Rep. Natalie Blais, D-Sunderland, said this is an example of getting results when the region advocates for itself at the state level.

“It’s very exciting news,” she said. “I’m thrilled.”

Blais said it was difficult for Franklin County residents to get to Springfield or Pittsfield to visit an RMV, given the lack of public transportation in the region.

Comerford and Blais agreed that the next task is persuading the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles to designate specific hours for people ages 75 and older, or to allow them to renew their driver’s licenses online, seeing as they are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. Comerford and three other state senators recently sent a letter to Jamey Tesler, appointed the state RMV registrar in June, to ask for concessions for elderly drivers.

“The primary purpose of (in-person visits for people over 75) is for these individuals to undergo an eye screening during the renewal process. However, the law does not require the test to be administered onsite, as an optometrist or ophthalmologist can administer the vision screening test,” the letter states. “The RMV has the technological capabilities to renew licenses online, which it has done for individuals under the age of 75 since March. Senior-specific RMV hours mitigates some of the risk of seniors renewing in person, but does not eliminate the risk of contracting COVID-19 entirely for this vulnerable age group.

“We ask that you encourage Governor (Charlie) Baker to sign an executive order suspending the in-person license renewal requirement for individuals aged 75 or older who obtain a visual screening test from their eye doctor,” the letter continues. “This executive order should last for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency. By passing this executive order, individuals aged 75 or older would not be required to enter into an RMV or AAA location.”

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.




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