Scottish car dealers to stay open in Level 4 ‘lockdown’ despite non-essential shops being forced to close

Time 5:14 pm, November 17, 2020

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced 11 councils in Scotland will be moved into the highest restriction level but, unlike in England and Wales, it is believed car dealers can continue operating but only from outdoor car lots. 

The Level 4 measures, similar to a full lockdown, will apply from 6pm on Friday in Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

The Scottish Motor Trade Association is warning dealers to not open indoor showrooms to avoid hefty fines. 

Garages and MOT centres and ‘outdoor car lots’ both listed as essential retail, meaning they are allowed to remain open for business.

Lawgistics commented that outdoor car lots can definitely remain open in Level 4 and that, while indoor showrooms should remain closed except for click-and-collect, it appears car dealers can have people on the forecourt to do business.

The Scottish government’s Q&A within the guidance states ‘car sales will be allowed, although businesses must put in place measures to operate safely, for workers and customers, including physical distancing and other measures in concluding transactions’.

The guidance has also explicitly said that test drives can take place, although it is recommended ‘that the same physical distancing, vehicle cleaning and ventilation measures’ are met as with driving lessons.

Scottish government’s guidance for the retail sector in Level 4

Outdoor car auctions have also been listed in essential retail, meaning they can also continue.

Sturgeon told MSPs: ‘I know people are frustrated that other restrictions have remained in place longer than planned but Level 4 is intended to be short and sharp.

‘And in this situation, it is specifically intended to have an impact in advance of Christmas and the most challenging winter period.

‘Lifting the Level 4 restrictions then – as we will do – also means that they will not be in place for most of the Hanukkah period – so again, while celebrations may be different, there will be a greater degree of freedom.’

She added: ‘We will assess nearer the time the level that will apply in each area when the Level 4 restrictions end on December 11.’

Rebecca Chaplin's avatar

Rebecca has been a motoring and business journalist since 2014, previously writing and presenting for titles such as the Press Association, Auto Express and Car Buyer. She has worked in many roles for Car Dealer Magazine’s publisher Blackball Media including head of editorial.

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