Car dealers should send staff home now to work remotely if they’re to comply with new restrictions


Time 7:08 am, September 23, 2020

Car dealers should make any staff who can do their job at home stay away from dealerships now to comply with the new coronavirus restrictions.

As part of sweeping new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, the Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday announced that office staff should work from home once again.

Motor trade solicitor Nona Bowkis said car dealers should now urgently review their Covid-19 risk assessments and send home and staff who can do their job remotely.

Even though retail is unaffected by the latest rules, the Lawgistics lawyer believes there will be many staff in car dealerships who can work from home – and should do so now.

She said: ‘What Boris actually said in Parliament was the government is once again asking office workers who can work from home to do so. 

‘In key public services – and in all professions where home working is not possible, such as construction or retail – people should continue to attend their workplaces.

‘So, as a retail environment, most workers in a car dealership can continue to go into work. 

‘Any purely office based jobs, though, within a dealership, perhaps for example the payroll function, should be completed from home to reduce numbers of people on site and reduce numbers of people travelling to and from work.’

Bowkis said dealers should look carefully at their risk assessments and put some ‘extra Covid thought’ into the planning.

The advice follows news that ALL car dealer staff will now have to wear a mask at all times while working or risk fines and their business being closed down.

As part of the the PM’s announcement, face masks will become a legal obligation for staff and customers and will come into effect tomorrow (Sept 24).

The PM told MPs: ‘We will include the requirement to wear face masks to include all staff in retail, all users of taxis and private hire vehicles, and staff and customers in indoor hospitality except when seated at a table to eat or drink.

‘In retail, leisure and tourism and other sectors, our Covid-secure guidelines will become legal obligations.

‘Businesses will be fined and could be closed if they breach the rules.’

Bowkis added: ‘Fortunately, we are not back in the position where dealerships are forced to close their premises but this announcement will require some extra Covid thought and planning.  

‘Of course the dealership must have a Covid Risk Assessment which must be kept under constant review to ensure they stay Covid safe. 

‘This will now need to be updated to require all customer facing staff to use a face covering if they are not already.’

The home working policy being reintroduced comes as experts warn staff are being ‘overworked’ at home with 60 hour weeks the ‘norm’.

Dr Christine Grant, from Coventry University, said there needed to be a balance when home-working to avoid burn-out.

James Baggott's avatar

James is the founder and editor-in-chief of Car Dealer Magazine, and CEO of parent company Baize Group. James has been a motoring journalist for more than 20 years writing about cars and the car industry.

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