Can car dealers in Wales still sell cars during the firebreak lockdown? And what about garages and MOTs?

Time 5:16 pm, October 19, 2020

Wales is to enter a ‘short sharp’ lockdown as of 6pm on Friday, October 23 with all non-essential retail including car dealerships having to close for a fortnight, as reported by Car Dealer.

It comes four months and a day after the restrictions were eased following the first lockdown, and will be in place until the start of Monday, November 9.

The lockdown is nationwide, replacing any local restrictions, with people being told to stay at home and work from home unless it isn’t possible to do so.

People are only being allowed to leave home to buy food, get medicine or for exercise, and to provide care.

First minister Mark Drakeford said today (Oct 19) the ‘short, sharp shock’ was intended to buy time to slow down the spread of the virus, save lives and help the NHS.

The finer details of the Wales lockdown are still sketchy but here’s what we know so far…

Will dealerships be able to operate online?
They were able to do so beforehand so we can’t see any reason why they wouldn’t be able to do so again this time round, so long as the business end of it is done from home.

Will they be able to offer click-and-collect and click-and-deliver?
The Welsh government’s guidance FAQs currently only say that essential retail can provide a click-and-collect service, and even then only if done in a Covid-secure way. People shouldn’t travel long distances to access click-and-collect services either.

Our friends at Lawgistics say: ‘This would suggest that as car dealerships have to close, they cannot provide a click-and-collect service.

‘However, this does not mean they cannot do click-and-deliver. Click-and-deliver will count as a distance sale, so we would recommend that dealers provide all the relevant distance sales paperwork.’

How about MOTs and repairs?
People are still being advised to take their vehicle to a garage if it is due an MOT during the fortnight. Lawgistics adds: ‘As before, it appears that service and repair garages can remain open.’

What help is there for businesses affected by the firebreak?
Every business covered by the small business rates relief will receive a £1,000 payment from a new £300m fund.

Is there anything else?
Small and medium-sized retail businesses that have to close will receive a one-off payment of up to £5,000.

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How about businesses that are really struggling?
There will be additional discretionary grants and support for smaller firms. Meanwhile, the £80m fund announced last week to help businesses develop in the longer term will be increased to £100m.

What if people break the rules?
Apart from the obvious risk of spreading coronavirus, anyone breaking the rules may have to pay a £60 fixed penalty, rising to £120 for a second offence.

This story was first published at 5.16pm on Monday, October 19 and will be updated when we get new information.

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Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

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