The DVSA has announced that it will reopen waiting rooms at a number of driving test centres in England and Scotland from the end of October.
Waiting rooms at centres around the country have been closed since driving tests resumed following lockdown. At the time tests restarted, the DVSA said it was keeping waiting room facilities at test centres closed to help protect candidates and staff from the spread of Covid-19.
However, it has now confirmed that it will open waiting facilities at nine centres with a series of restrictions in place to continue to protect staff and learner drivers.
In a statement the DVSA said: “As we set out on 21 October we’ve been working with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and are assessing our individual centres to see how some waiting rooms could be made safely available to you and others waiting for candidates to return from test.
“From Friday 30 October we’ll be opening waiting rooms at nine test centres across England and Scotland. We will not be opening any in Wales as we are not currently providing a driver testing service in Wales due to the Welsh firebreak.
"It continues to be our top priority to stop the spread of COVID-19 and protect you, your pupils and our examiners.”
The nine centres which will reopen their waiting rooms from this Friday are:
AlnessDarlington MPTCChesterfieldGarretts GreenWidnesCambridge Brookmount CourtGillingham GVTSMaidstoneSwindon MPTC
Driving test have gradually resumed since July but are currently suspended in Wales (Photo: Shutterstock)
The DVSA said it had chosen these centres because they were relatively quick and simple to make Covid-safe, visitors have no other local amenities within walking distance and the centres are geographically spread across England and Scotland.
Candidates due to sit their test at one of the affected centres will receive an email detailing the steps taken to make the facilities Covid-safe and instructions on how to use the waiting rooms. These come on top of the existing guidelines on attending a practical driving test.
Among the measures implemented are requirements for candidates to wear a face covering at all times inside the waiting rooms, to sign in via a QR code or physical paper log, and to wipe down touch points when they enter and leave the waiting area.
A DVSA spokesperson added: “Unfortunately, we will not be able to reopen all our test centre waiting rooms because some of our centres are too small. So that we can continue to provide a testing service from some of our centres, waiting rooms have had to be repurposed for our own staff to allow them to socially distance from each other at work.
“We understand that [candidates] may be disappointed if [their] local test centre is not included in the initial rollout. Once we have reviewed the initial rollout and feedback from the waiting room visitors and examiners, we will assess how we can safely open up other waiting rooms around the country.”