Dealerships are back open for business – keep your customers and staff safe
Car dealerships are once again open for walk-in sales and test drives following months of closure due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Click and collect has been the only way to sell cars during the entire third lockdown but, from Monday 12th April, customers are allowed back into showrooms to browse new and used cars under the same rules as last summer, when the first national lockdown was eased.
In this blog we will take a look at the Government’s guidance for people who work in or run shops, branches, stores or similar environments – including car dealerships. The guide aims to make workplaces “COVID-Secure” in an effort to tackle COVID-19.
What are the priority actions to take to reopen safely?
The Government has outlined eight priority actions to protect staff and customers when re-opening your business from 12th April.
- Complete a COVID-19 risk assessment – Employers have a duty to protect people from harm, including taking reasonable steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus. To learn more about carrying out a COVID-19 risk assessment, visit the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) website.
- Clean more often – Surfaces that are touched often, such as customer service desks and the exterior and interior of vehicles, need cleaning often. Staff and visitors should also be advised to wash their hands and use hand sanitiser frequently. A good way to encourage regular hand cleaning would be to have a hand sanitisation station at the entrance of the premises of your dealership.
- Remind staff and customers to wear face coverings – By law, face coverings must still be worn in any indoor space to help mitigate the transmission of COVID-19. Signage placed in prominent locations is a good way to reinforce this rule. For more information on when a face covering is necessary as well as exemptions for wearing one, visit the Government website.
- Make sure everyone is social distancing – Signage reminding staff and customers of the 2m distance rule and one-way systems are a good way to encourage customers and staff to continue social distancing at your dealership.
- Provide adequate ventilation – Dealerships are, typically, fairly open spaces but it is still important to ensure a constant supply of fresh air. This can be done through open windows, doors and vents, and/or with mechanical ventilation using fans and ducts. Read advice on air conditioning and ventilation from the HSE.
- Take part in NHS Test and Trace – You can set up an NHS QR code for your business and ask customers and visitors to scan it using the NHS COVID-19 app. Check ‘Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace’ for details.
- Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away – Staff or customers with a persistent cough, high temperature or a loss of taste and smell should be isolating. According to the Government guide, it is an offence to ask a member of staff to break self-isolation if they are displaying these symptoms.
- Consider the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19 for yourself and others – From feeling lonely to worrying about health and even how the economic impact of COVID-19 has affected your business, the pandemic can have a significant effect beyond contracting the virus. The Government has published guidance on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of COVID-19. Automotive industry charity Ben also provides advice and support for the automotive community. Visit their coronavirus hub for further information.
Following the link for the Government’s full guide on “Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)”.