Scottish dealerships get green light to reopen on June 29 – nearly a month after England’s showrooms


Time 1:20 pm, June 18, 2020

Car dealerships in Scotland can open their doors from June 29, first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced today (Jun 18).

From June 29, all non-essential retail businesses will be able to reopen if they have outdoor exits and entrances and health and safety guidance is implemented – and that includes car dealerships.

The reopening of dealerships in Scotland on June 29 is a little later than was hoped for, though.

The Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) told Car Dealer Magazine earlier this month that June 19 or 22 were believed to be the dates mooted for non-essential retail to reopen as part of the second phase of the Scottish government’s route map out of the crisis.

As such, it had written to the government pleading for dealerships to get the green light on the earlier of the two dates in order to take advantage of weekend shoppers.

Speaking to Car Dealer Magazine today, SMTA chairman Sandy Burgess told of his disappointment and dismay at the further delay, saying it highlighted two shortfalls in the current Scottish government’s policy programme.

‘Firstly, it shows an extreme lack of understanding as to how the retail automotive sector operates and the impacts of late-in-the-day policy changes such as this.

‘And secondly, it shows a total lack of respect for the industry at all levels, as they have not spoken to or communicated with any business in our sector before reaching this incomprehensible decision!’

In an email sent today (Jun 18) to Burgess, after he requested clarification, and seen by Car Dealer Magazine, the Scottish government adds that today’s updated guidance removed a restriction on the size of sales areas that would be allowed to reopen.

It means the previous restriction that would have seen units larger than 800 square metres having to wait until the third phase to reopen no longer applied.

However, Burgess said that that wasn’t really a gain for dealerships, as the appointments-only system that they would be running meant they didn’t need to have such a large area open anyway.


Up to now, Scottish dealers have been able to offer click-and-collect services, but showroom doors have had to remain shut to customers.

The reopening will come nearly a month after showrooms were allowed to trade again in England.

So far, many showrooms in England have reported higher than anticipated business from consumers.

Speaking directly to would-be customers, Sturgeon asked that everyone ‘exercise patience, stick to the measures that are in place for your safety, and at all times please respect retail staff who will be asking you to shop in a different way’.

Along with dealerships and other non-essential retail businesses, Scots will get more access to health services including dentists.

Exclusive: Scottish dealers express frustration at lack of clear guidance for reopening on June 29

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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