CHICAGO (CBS) — Amid an ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases statewide, the Illinois Secretary of State is closing all of its Driver Services centers for two weeks after the new year.
Secretary of State Jesse White’s office announced Tuesday afternoon that all of its departments, including Driver Services facilities, will close for in-person transactions from Jan. 3 through Jan. 17, reopening on Jan. 18.
The announcement comes as the Illinois Department of Public Health reported 21,098 new cases of COVID-19 statewide on Wednesday, the second highest daily total of the pandemic, and the second day in a row the state has reported more than 20,000 new cases.
Illinois is currently averaging 16,686 new cases per day over the past week, the highest average daily case rate during the pandemic.
With COVID-19 testing also surging in December, however, the state’s case positivity rate still remains below the peaks seen during the first two waves of the pandemic. As of Wednesday, the state’s seven-day average case positivity rate is at 9.1%, the first time it’s been above 9% in more than a year, but still below the 13.2% peak of the fall surge in November 2020, and well below the peak of more than 20% during the first wave in May 2020.
While Illinois Driver Services centers are closed for in-person transactions, drivers will still be able to visit the Secretary of State’s website to renew their vehicle stickers, obtain a duplicate driver’s license or ID, or obtain their driving record. Eligible people can also renew their driver’s license or state ID online, and can call 217-785-1424 to confirm their eligibility or obtain their PIN.
In addition, the Drivers and Vehicles Services hotline phone number will remain open at 800-252-8980. Customers with issues involving administrative hearings may email email@example.com or call 312-793-3722 or 217-782-7065.
The state has already extended the expiration dates for expired driver’s licenses and ID cards through March 31, 2022. The extension does not apply to commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) or CDL learner’s permits.
As a reminder, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has extended the federal REAL ID deadline to May 3, 2023. After that point, travelers will need either a REAL ID card, passport, or other acceptable form of ID for airline travel. The TSA provides a list of acceptable IDs online.