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The state is setting the stage to reopen the dozens of driver exam stations that were mothballed at the start of the COVID pandemic.

Five DPS-DVS exam stations will open over the next 10 days — in St. Peter, Thief River Falls, Glencoe, Red Wing and Hutchinson, the Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services (DPS-DVS) announced Monday. This wave follows the reopening of exam stations in Gaylord (on Nov. 2) and New Ulm (on Nov. 4).

Minnesota normally has 93 of these exam stations in operation across the state, at which hopeful driver's can take their road test for Minnesota's regular driver's license, the Class D license, or take their knowledge test. 

But Gov. Tim Walz's March 2020 peacetime emergency order, which placed strict limitations on many places people gather in an effort to slow the emerging spread of COVID, reduced that figure. First there were just 15. By the end of October 2021, the number was up to 24, with intermittent reopenings. You can see a list of currently operational sites here.

The abrupt onset of the pandemic resulted in thousands of postponed or cancelled road tests.

Lawmakers, during the 2021 legislative session, provided funding to reopen the 67 exam stations that had remained closed, and ordered all sites reopen with full service offerings. DPS-DVS is now aiming to have 43 exam stations open by the end of the year and the rest operating by Jan. 31, 2022. 

The department has to negotiate leases, and hire and train staff before exam stations can once again open. 

Here are the exam stations set to open in the near future:

  • St. Peter — Nov. 9
  • Thief River Falls — Nov. 15
  • Glencoe — Nov. 15
  • Red Wing — Nov. 17
  • Hutchinson — Nov. 18

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