LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Kentucky officials ordered the state’s Real ID offices and other driver’s licenses branches to temporarily shut down starting Wednesday in response to Gov. Andy Beshear’s directive to limit in-person services during the coronavirus outbreak.
There is no timeline for those offices to reopen.
Kentucky Transportation Secretary Jim Gray also issued an order on Tuesday extending the expiration dates of current driver’s licenses, permits and other ID cards by 90 days “until further notice.” During that time, licenses will be in “full force and effect as if timely renewed.”
The order by Gray, who is self-isolating after being exposed to a patient with the COVID-19 virus, also applies to commercial operator’s licenses. In addition, Gray granted a 90-day extension for license plate and handicapped parking permit registrations and other certifications required by the state’s vehicle licensing department.
Late fees for those renewals and registrations also are waived.
The state has only recently began opening regional offices where Kentuckians can apply for the Real ID licenses. Those credentials will be needed by October 1 to board domestic flights in the U.S., unless a traveler has a passport or military ID.
On Tuesday, the National Governors Association called on the Department of Homeland Security to extend that deadline until at least October 1, 2021.
“We remain concerned about the prolonged impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on our states and territories, supply chains, the travel industry and the economy,” the association said in a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf. “On behalf of the nations’ governors, we urge the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to institute an extension of the REAL ID program for no less than one year.”
“We believe an extension will allow all of us to focus our efforts on combatting the spread and severity of COVID-19,” the letter said. “More time will also give Congress the ability to pass legislation that will update the 2005 REAL ID Act and bring it up to speed with today’s technology. This will also give DHS time to make regulatory changes.”