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Are car dealerships, garages and MOT centres now open for business?

Time 1 year ago

What is the situation with car dealerships, garages and MOT centres now?
Dealerships were allowed to reopen to the public in England as of today (June 1), after all of them in the UK were ordered on March 23 to shut to the public since they were deemed non-essential retail. The prime minister gave the go-ahead on May 25 for showrooms in England to reopen.

How about elsewhere in the UK?
Showrooms will be allowed to reopen to the public in Northern Ireland on June 8. The devolved governments in Scotland and Wales have yet to give a date for when dealerships can reopen to the public there. Meanwhile, online sales have been allowed right across the UK.

What about garages and MOT test centres?
Garages and MOT centres have been allowed to stay open throughout the pandemic, as they were deemed essential to keep the nation moving. They’ve been focusing on vehicles belonging to or used by NHS staff and key workers.


There is a six-month exemption on MOTs for cars, vans and motorcycles, while annual testing for lorries, buses and coaches has been suspended for up to three months. Trade bodies have been calling for this to be ended now, though, as they fear it’ll mean a rise in dangerous vehicles on the road.

What have dealerships been doing to ensure their showrooms are safe?
They’ve had to meet the government’s Covid-19 secure guidelines to protect customers and workers, and have been putting measures in place well ahead of the confirmation of the opening date. The guidelines have taken into account the best practice demonstrated by the many retailers that were allowed to stay open during the lockdown and which have applied social distancing measures, such as supermarkets.

Dealerships must have a full health and safety written assessment to ensure their business is Covid-19-secure.

They must have completed an online Health and Safety Executive (HSE) inspection to prove that they’re safe to reopen – and will face random spot checks in the future to ensure they’re continuing to comply. Car dealers must display a certificate like the one below to reassure the public and confirm the business has complied with the government’s guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19.

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It can be downloaded here.

What changes can people expect to see?
They include unaccompanied test drives to ensure that social distancing is maintained in showrooms, and perspex screens between sales people and customers. There’ll be hand sanitising stations, one-way systems for the public to go in and out of showrooms, plus timed appointments to manage customer arrivals.

What if dealerships don’t comply?
There are tough powers in place to enforce action, including fines and jail sentences of up to two years.

The huge steps car dealers are taking to safely reopen

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Last updated: Monday, June 1, 1.46pm

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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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