Illinois driver services facilities and Secretary of State departments will close for the first half of January due to increased COVID-19 cases statewide, Secretary of State Jesse White announced Wednesday.
The offices will not conduct in-person transactions from Jan. 3 through Jan. 17, 2022, though online services will remain open on the Illinois Secretary of State website, officials said.
“After careful consideration and out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to close all Driver Services facilities beginning Jan. 3, 2022, through Jan. 17, 2022, due to the spike in COVID-19 cases,” White said. “The health and safety of employees and the public remains paramount, and face-to-face transactions potentially increase the further spread of the virus. Our goal is to safely reopen all offices and Driver Services facilities on January 18 for face-to-face transactions.”
The Drivers and Vehicles Services hotline phone number will also remain open during this time at 800-252-8980.
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White reminded that all driver's license and ID card expiration dates have been extended to March 31, 2022. The extension does not apply to commercial driver's licenses and CDL learner's permits.
On Tuesday, Chicago added two more states and one territory to its travel advisory ahead of the New Year as the holiday travel rush continuing despite complications from the surging omicron variant.
Louisiana and South Carolina, along with the Virgin Islands, were added to the city's warning list Tuesday, but Montana was removed.
That means that, as of Tuesday, every state or territory except for Guam and Montana are on the advisory. Three states – Alaska, Idaho, and Mississippi – are eligible to come off the advisory next week, the Chicago Department of Public Health said, if their numbers remain below the threshold.
This week's update to the travel advisory comes at a time when the average daily number of new cases in Chicago climbed to 3,796 per day - up 85% from the previous week.
That figure is much higher than the low of 34 the city saw in late June and now exceeds the more than 700 cases per day the city was seeing during the most recent surge earlier this year.
City data showed hospitalizations are up 15% from the previous week, but deaths are down by 37% since last week. The positivity rate in testing rose to 15.4% this week, a sharp jump from the 7.4% reported the week prior.
Some of the data may be skewed due to the holidays, however.