The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the Department of Homeland Security’s priorities in terms of the deadline for REAL ID drivers’ licenses. The deadline had been October 1st of this year – it’s now October 1, 2021, a year later.
As Homeland Security explains it, “The REAL ID Act establishes minimum security standards for license issuance and production and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting for certain purposes driver’s licenses and identification cards from states not meeting the Act’s minimum standards. The purposes covered by the Act are: accessing Federal facilities, entering nuclear power plants, and, boarding federally regulated commercial aircraft.”
It’s the last item, boarding commercial aircraft, that has the greatest impact on the public at large. Without a REAL ID – confirmation of identity, usually via a driver’s license – would-be passengers aren’t permitted to board commercial airliners. That’s intended to keep illicit “travelers” off the planes.