A continuing staffing shortage at Anoka County license centers means the location in Ramsey will remain closed.

The center inside the Ramsey Municipal Center shut down Nov. 16 and its employees were deployed to the county's other license centers in Coon Rapids, Ham Lake, Blaine and Columbia Heights.

Staffers in Ramsey handled about 100 face-to-face transactions a day before the pandemic hit. Officials closed the branch because they needed more help checking in patrons, maintaining social distancing, disinfecting work surfaces and processing applications left in drop boxes at the other four locations that remain open.

Staffing levels countywide were also adversely affected because employees had to tend to child-care issues or stay home with children doing distance learning, according to Erik Thorson, Anoka County communications director.

Moving employees from Ramsey to fill the gaps "increased our systemwide face-to-face total transaction capacity by 200-plus transactions," Thorson said.

But systemwide, service capacity remains below pre-COVID-19 levels as staff continue to follow state guidelines.

The county is hiring and training additional staff and plans to reopen the Ramsey branch once they are on the job, Thorson said.

Many services, such as tab and driver's license renewals, can be done online. For transactions such as applying for a Real ID or enhanced driver's license, in-person appointments are required. Customers with questions can call 763-324-2100 but are being warned centers are experiencing high call volumes. Questions can also be sent by e-mail to license@co.anoka.mn.us.

Tim Harlow • 612-673-7768