FREDERICTON (GNB) – Customers are advised to take advantage of online options or Teleservices if possible to avoid lineups when Service New Brunswick service centres return to their regular hours of operation on Monday.

“We are recommending that residents wait a few more days before visiting a service centre in person or do their business online or through Teleservices if they are able,” said Service New Brunswick Minister Sherry Wilson. “There may be long lines at some centres when they first reopen, and customers should plan accordingly.”

Many of Service New Brunswick’s services can be conducted online or by calling Teleservices at 1-888-762-8600, including renewing a driver’s licence, registering a vehicle or booking a driving test. The renewal of all licences, registrations, certificates and permits has been extended to July 31, 2020, unless suspended by a court or by other authority.

Customers who must visit a service centre in person are reminded to keep two metres of physical distance from others and have a mask with them if physical distancing cannot be maintained. The number of people allowed to wait inside air-conditioned waiting rooms will be limited in accordance with Public Health guidelines.

Anyone with a pre-booked appointment for a road or written driver’s test should identify themselves to the commissionaire.

Traditionally, wait times at Service New Brunswick have averaged just under 15 minutes compared to the North American average of 44 minutes. However, due to the increased demand, lines and wait times are expected to be much longer.

Wilson thanked Service New Brunswick centre staff for their hard work and dedication during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The public may not realize that Service New Brunswick employees have been on the job the entire time during the pandemic, working 12-hour days, seven days a week,” said Wilson. “Service centre staff were redeployed to help their colleagues on the phones and online.”

The toll-free information line and email created by the provincial government to respond to non-health related questions about COVID-19 is staffed by Service New Brunswick employees, who have responded to 6,406 emails between April 20 and June 21 as well as more than 30,000 phone calls since the information line was set up in March.

Service New Brunswick employees also staff the MyHealthNB website, which provides New Brunswickers who were tested for COVID-19 at an assessment site with access to their test results.

Service New Brunswick’s regular Teleservices line and online transactions have seen a significant increase in volume due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, motor vehicle registration renewals online and through Teleservices have increased 56 per cent from an average of 5,433 per week in 2019 to an average of 13,542 per week in 2020.