Province tells GTA DriveTest customers to ‘avoid’ going to areas like Lindsay for tests

By Roderick Benns

DriveTest is now stating to customers in the Greater Toronto Area – where COVID infection rates are high – to avoid going to places like Lindsay, where infection rates are low. As well, City of Kawartha Lakes messaging is also asking non-local people to stay away for now.

The DriveTest notice is now on the DriveTest home page where it reads:

“Customers affected by the Grey (Lockdown) level cancellations are strongly encouraged to avoid non-essential travel and wait to reschedule their road test. Customers should avoid rescheduling their road test at DriveTest locations in Red, Orange, Yellow or Green levels.”

Kawartha Lakes is a green zone.

As well, the Advocate has discovered that a link from the Kawartha Lakes economic development page leading to an e-newsletter to the Shop Kawartha Lakes page, basically tells non-local residents the same thing.

“We welcome visitors from outside Kawartha Lakes when the COVID-19 situation improves. Until then, if you reside in an area under red, orange, or yellow health restrictions, please enjoy Kawartha Lakes virtually by exploring the website and following Explore Kawartha Lakes on social media.”

Visitors from out of town — especially for the DriveTest bookings — have been a contentious local issue for many months as scores of people have lined up at the back of the Lindsay Square Mall to take their driver’s tests.

Since the Greater Toronto Area is under scrutiny as a COVID-19 hotspot, it has made many uneasy about the loitering near the mall’s back entrance, commonly used by patrons to visit the mall.

When the Advocate contacted the Ministry of Transportation before about this last month, Lee Alderson, senior issues advisor to the Ministry of Transportation, said the DriveTest company and the government are currently working towards implementing additional actions to reduce “longer than usual lineups.”

These actions include some DriveTest centres offering extended hours of operation, increasing the number of people who are able to take written tests at 22 centres, and hiring 50 new driver examiners by December 2020.

–with files from William McGinn.

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