Op-Ed: Kearns Shares Update on Erie County Clerk’s Office Amid Covid-19 Pandemic Compliance

Modified: February 17, 2021 9:59am

February 17, 2021

Business continues to get done in spite of challenges 

It’s been a tough year for all of us due to COVID-19 and the unpredictable circumstances our community has combated. Through it all, the Erie County Clerk’s Office continued to persevere and conduct business on behalf of you, our customers. I have nothing but praise for our dedicated staff as we work together to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Although not every division of the County Clerk’s Office is conducting in-person transactions, I wanted to share with you what changes have been implemented in the various departments as we find new norms to protect our workers and customers: 

Erie County Auto Bureau:  In our first phase of our re-opening, our main offices in Buffalo, Cheektowaga, Tonawanda and West Seneca are operational and require a reservation for all in-person transactions. Appointments can be made online at erie.gov/clerk/autobureau. Only those requiring assistance or who are without internet access are asked to call 858-8864 to secure a reservation. Currently, appointments are being accepted for the same or next day.

In order to comply with New York State Health Department (NYS DOH) and Center of Disease Control (CDC) guidance we ask the following of our customers: wear a mask covering nose and mouth at all times, maintain social distancing protocols, use the provided hand sanitizer as needed and bring your own pen.

Motorists will now have through February 26, 2021 to renew their driver’s license or learner’s permit, which includes all classes of licenses. Please know this extension does not pertain to non-driver identification cards, inspections or vehicle registrations which needed to be renewed by November 3, 2020. For anyone requiring an eye exam to renew their driver’s license, our offices do provide them to all customers free of charge. 

All motorists who need to surrender their vehicle’s license plates may do so without an appointment at any local branch during normal business hours. If you are unable to get to an office location, we will accept plate surrenders by mail. Place both plates in an envelope and mail to: Erie County Auto Bureau- 170 Pearl Street, Buffalo, NY 14202. Within 7-10 days you will receive a FS6T surrender receipt in the mail, dated for the day the plates were postmarked, for you to provide to your insurance carrier who will then back date the surrender accordingly. 

Due to space limitations and to comply with social distancing protocols, we are presently unable to provide mobile satellite services at any of our host locations in Elma, Evans, Grand Island, Hamburg and Springville. However, we are currently developing the necessary protocols in order to resume auto bureau services in a safe and healthy manner in those localities. Additionally, construction is underway on our new location inside the Eastern Hills Mall that will allow for us to meet social distancing guidelines, install protective glass at every customer window and the handle the increase in transaction volume. The new site is located next to GNC and scheduled to open sometime in the spring. 

Pistol Permit Department: Due to limited space, all in-person services have been suspended until further notice. However, we are accepting the following transactions by mail: new applications, replacement of lost/stolen permits, and registering, deleting and transfers of a firearm. 

The forms required to compete such transactions by mail can be found at erie.gov/clerk under the pistol permit tab. All necessary documents, permit copies and an applicable check or money order can be made payable to the Erie County Clerk and mailed to Erie County Clerk’s Office, 92 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202 Attn: Pistol Permit Department. 

The remaining departments within the County Clerk’s Office are operating and working daily, although COVID-19 restrictions apply and may change frequently. We ask if you need to conduct business in land records, actions and proceedings, archive records, passports or our business center to please refer to our website at erie.gov/clerk.  

As we care about the health of everyone, we ask that you do not come to any of our offices if you have: been in contact with anyone who has tested positive or are experiencing a fever, cold or flu like symptoms, do not have business to personally conduct or are under 16 years of age. Interpreters and parents/guardians or those assisting anyone requiring reasonable accommodations will be allowed to enter.