Californian lawmakers fear that the coronavirus outbreak will adversely affect its efforts to issue millions of REAL IDs.

Los Angeles Times reports the state is already falling short in issuing REAL IDs and that the pandemic could add extra strain on its efforts.

Lawmakers fear that amid the coronavirus panic, people will be discouraged form visiting crowded Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offices.

According to the newspaper, California’s DMV requested an additional $200 million to continue efforts to issue the federally required IDs to the estimated 8 million residents who are expected to file an application this year.

More than 10 million additional drivers in the state do not have a REAL ID licence, but are not expected to immediately request one.

The California State Assembly’s Phil Ting expects the coronavirus pandemic will force the federal government to consider extending the 1 October deadline for requiring that people show a REAL ID to board domestic airline flights.

“You can’t tell people to stay home and then tell them to go someplace to pick up a licence,” he explains.

Los Angeles Times reports the US Department of Homeland Security has not indicated any deadline extension.  

Steve Gordon, Director of the DMV, also said his agency has no plans to restrict access to field offices.

The DMV reportedly says it expects 16 million Californians will want to get a REAL ID to meet new federal security requirements by the 1 October deadline and about half of them have not yet done so.

The agency says it has been issuing up to 450,000 REAL IDs per month, but would have to issue more than twice that amount monthly to meet the goal of getting the identifications in the hands of all 16 million.

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