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Seven Minnesota driver's license exam stations to reopen in November following pandemic-related closures

The Department of Public Safety said 43 stations were set to reopen before the end of the year.

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A group of people gathered outside the Detroit Lakes exam station on Tuesday. (Nathan Bowe/Tribune)

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Driver and Vehicle Services division on Monday, Nov. 8, announced that it would reopen 7 driver's license exam stations this month.

The move comes as the state aims to reopen dozens of stations around the state following closures due to COVID-19. The department in March of 2020 shrunk the number of open stations around the state to 15 when Gov. Tim Walz issued a stay-at-home order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Since then, DVS officials have slowly reopened exam stations but have lagged due to staffing issues and financial constraints. The Legislature earlier this year approved legislation putting $5 million toward the effort to reopen shuttered stations and requiring DVS to resume service at all 93 sites.

Locations in Gaylord, New Ulm, St. Peter, Thief River Falls, Glencoe, Red Wing and Hutchinson are set to reopen by the end of the month, DVS officials said in a news release. And 43 stations are set to be open by the end of the year. The remaining 50 exam stations are set to resume service in January, according to DVS.

Republican lawmakers on Monday said the state needed to speed up the reopening process and get more exam stations back in service.

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“Reopening these stations should have never taken this long. Government has to stay open to provide essential services, including licensing drivers," state Sen. Mark Johnson, R-East Grand Forks, said. " Minnesotans in all areas of the state deserve access to essential driver’s license services so they can have the means to go about their daily lives."

Follow Dana Ferguson on Twitter @bydanaferguson , call 651-290-0707 or email dferguson@forumcomm.com

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