Here’s the good news for Mississippi motorists: There will be no more waiting in line to renew a driver’s license as long as COVID-19 is around.

Here’s the catch: All driver’s license renewals must be done online.

Gov. Tate Reeves said during Wednesday’s COVID-9 briefing that the state’s driver’s license stations will reopen on Monday for services excluding license renewals.

“Number one, you’re not going to get real, real mad because you have to wait in line for hours, and number two, you’re not going to catch the COVID,” Reeves said.

Licenses can be renewed for up to eight years online, and Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell said renewals represent about 80% of all office traffic, so the department and Reeves made the decision to stop all in-person renewals once the offices reopen.

Along with the opening, public safety officials will require masks to be worn, provide sanitizer and enforce social distancing.

Anyone with last names starting with the letters A through E will be served on Monday, F through L on Tuesday M through S on Thursday and T through Z on Friday.

Wednesday will be free for anyone to come, because Tindell said that is traditionally the day with the fewest visitors for driver’s license offices.

“We have a three-month backlog. If we just opened up we would be overwhelmed by the first day,” Tindell said.

Though Mississippians cannot renew licenses in person, the offices can still be used for obtaining learner’s permits, commercial driver’s licenses, credentials, sex offender registrations, ignitor interlock licenses, out-of-state transfers and reinstatements. Security guard permits are a special case and can only be done on Wednesdays, Tindell  said.

He also urged those who need to go to driver’s license offices to wait a week or two, because even if customers are split up by the last name there will still be a significant line at the offices.

Nursing home names to be released

In another matter, officials with the Mississippi State Department of Health said they would release the name of long-term care facilities where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred on Wednesday, but the data was not made available by the Enterprise-Journal’s deadline.

State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said the department has been inundated by newspapers making public records requests about long-term care facilities, so the department plans to release all of the names by the end of the day Wednesday, and they will continue to update those names and numbers as the days go by.

The names of every facility along with the county in which they are located were to be published along with other state coronavirus case information, but the facility’s name and case breakdowns will be the only information provided.

This comes after the state was sued by Hattiesburg newspaper PineBelt News in mid-May along with the Mississippi Press Association, calling for the release of the information as well.

Dobbs said most of the transmission from long-term care facilities comes from employees catching the virus in the community and bringing it into the facilties as either pre-symptomatic or a symptomatic carriers.

The state had 302 new cases, 15 new death and 126 current outbreaks in long-term care facilities for a total of 16,211 total cases and 767 total deaths since March 12.

Pike County reported just one new case of the virus Tuesday total of 205 cases with no new deaths or long-term care facility outbreaks. Lincoln County on the other hand, jumped by eight cases for a total of 278 but no new deaths or outbreaks at long-term care facilities.

Amite County reported one new case for a total of 64, Franklin reported no new cases for a total of 29, Lawrence reported three new cases for a total of 108, Walthall rose to 63 and Wilkinson stayed at 85 cases.

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