KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Knox County Clerk Sherry Witt announced Thursday that due to Gov. Bill Lee’s latest executive order, the clerk’s office will only offer certain services by appointment only.
Knox County residents can continue to use services online, such as renewing tags, but a resident must call the office first for other services such as obtaining a marriage license or a notary oath and bond.
The change also comes after hundreds of residents waited for hours in line for the drive-thru services at the downtown location, which was the only county clerk’s office open since March 23.
“Doctor Buchanan’s order went out on Monday March 23rd, and as soon as the order went out, the very next day we had to open up to drive-thru services only and this is kind of where we’ve been,” Michael Paseur, chief of staff to the Knox County Clerk, said.
On Thursday, the line of cars backed up along the entire stretch of Main Street.
Witt said that they were prepared for the drive-thru aspect of services, but the office was not expecting such long lines, mainly because most services can be done online.
“Most of everybody that’s came through, they said ‘Do you know I waited for two hours?” I said, ‘Did you know you could do this in the mail or online?’ ‘Oh yeah, but I waited until the last minute.’ I said ‘well, oh okay, do you know that the governor has issued an extension till June for any of this,” Witt said.
She said to help with any animosity that might have occurred with the long wait, the Knox County Sheriff’s Office provided officers to keep traffic in line.
Witt said that another reason why the lines were so long was because some people might not have all the documents they need on hand, or not filled out correctly.
She said on a similar note, some documents take about 15 or 20 minutes to process.
Witt said they were getting about 200 vehicles a day since the office changed to drive-thru only.
She said that about 1/3 of the residents were trying to get their vehicle registered after buying it from someone other than a dealership.
With the governor issuing a stay at home order on Thursday, Witt said that it’s best for everyone to just wait a little longer if they can to register their vehicles, as long as they keep the proper documents safe, or do what they can online.
“I will say we have a lot of law-abiding citizens around here and that’s a good thing. They’re all wanting to, their plates are out you know, and they want to get it done. But, they can continue to do this online and get those renewal slips. If you bought a car from an individual, you’re just going to have to wait.”
The Knox County Clerk will accept appointments only for marriage licenses and notary oath and applications. If a resident needs either service, then they need to call the clerk’s office beforehand at 865-215-2385.
For more information on what services can be done online, click here.
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