When lockdown came into full force across the UK on Monday 23rd March 2020, many motor trade businesses were faced with new challenges and concerns. For example, many garages were unsure whether purchasing a car can be deemed an ‘essential’ transaction, and if they were still permitted to carry out repair services.
Justin Vinney, Director at Exe Insurance, answers some commonly asked questions on this new legislation and offers his advice on how motor trade businesses can best prepare themselves for increased social distancing measures in the turbulent months to come.
I am a business owner of a car garage; can I open my showroom?
The UK Government have now clarified that all non-essential shops such as showrooms and dealerships should close, however they can remain open if they provide urgent car repairs or services. Regardless of this legislation, many business owners are still opting to remain at home for moral reasons.
For any garages or dealerships who have made the decision to remain open, it’s important they have the appropriate health and safety measures in place to protect themselves, their employees, and their customers.
For businesses that remain open, what measures should be put in place during this time?
Business owners should implement appropriate PPE and sanitising products for employees and customers to ensure everyone’s safety. This should include face masks, hand sanitisers, gloves, seat covers, and so on.
It is also recommended to lay down floor markings two metres apart where queues may form, put up perspex screens at desks, and reduce the number of staff working at a time to allow sufficient space for everyone.
All employees should also be trained on the new protocol and be reminded to not form in groups during lunch breaks.
All surfaces should be cleaned regularly. For further advice on cleaning non-healthcare environments, see the RHA’s advice here.
For keyworkers who need new cars to travel to work, how can businesses arrange a contactless delivery?
Many dealerships will be focusing on adapting their website to cater for online transactions. This will allow for people who rely on their cars to purchase new vehicles remotely. Dealerships can arrange for vehicles to be delivered on a flatbed truck; this is the safest option to protect the supply chain and customer.
If a dealership is unable to use a flatbed truck and must drive the vehicle to the customer, they should make sure they disinfect the vehicle thoroughly before and upon arrival and carry out any vehicle inspections at a safe distance.
How can businesses prepare for increased social distancing measures when they reopen?
The usual preventative measures should continue to be implemented such as floor markings, PPE, perspex screens, and so on. Dealerships could also consider letting drivers test drive cars unaccompanied. Many insurance policies will likely not cover you for any damage or theft if test drivers are unaccompanied. For that reason, the best thing to do is to contact your insurer and ask if they are making exceptions given the unusual circumstances.
Any touch points should also be cleaned meticulously after each test drive.
For further advice and information on Motor Trade Insurance, get in contact with our friendly team on 01392 797 733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.