Much like almost every other industry in the UK, both car manufacturing and sales have slowed down over the last few months in reaction to Covid-19 to their lowest since 1946.
The big players in this sector are no-doubt raring to get back on track and some have already reopened, with strict social distancing rules in place.
In addition, many car showrooms in England have been allowed to reopen since 1 June within the updated lockdown rules. However, as it stands, dealerships in Wales and Scotland still remain closed until lockdown measures are reviewed again this week.
For both employees and customers, getting back to the motoring industry and buying and selling new cars is an exciting prospect. However, for everyone’s health and safety, certain measures must be taken, and the reopening of car dealerships should only be done when safety is prioritised.
Amongst other measures, clear signage should be implemented to ensure social distancing measures can be upheld. While discussing the signage and safety measures that should be taken, Gary Peeling, Chief Executive Officer of Where The Trade Buys said, “It may not be business as usual, but with the UK government announcing that social distancing and increased hygiene measures are likely to remain in place until the end of the year, health and safety should be everyone’s top priority.”
He went on to draw our attention to certain products that should be utilised, including floor stickers, PVC signs, countertop strut cards, and a ‘back to work’ book for all members of staff.
Many motoring giants are already leading the way and establishing such signage and social distancing measures. A spokesperson for Nissan said they are “looking forward to resuming business” and that the company is implementing “a comprehensive set of safety measures to protect the health and wellbeing of employees.”.
In addition, Vauxhall has also announced social distancing plans in which workers will be reminded to remain two metres apart at all time in the factory, with red tape indicating where workers are able to stand safely.
So, that’s what the motoring giants are doing to ensure the safety of their workers — while aiming to keep production rates high — but what can you do to ensure that your dealership is a safe workplace to return to?
- Write up a full health and safety assessment — this is essential to make sure that any business is ‘Covid-19-secure’.
- Complete an online HSE inspection — once you’ve done this, you’ll receive a printable certificate that you can display in your showroom to give your customers peace of mind. You should also make sure you’re prepared for random spot-checks to ensure that you’re upholding these measures.
- Put up health and safety signs — this will ensure that your rules are clear, and your customers and staff are reminded regularly.
- Disinfect cars as regularly as possible.
- Operate your dealership on an appointment-only basis — this way you can call ahead to let your customer know your social distancing requirements, what they can expect, and how they can ensure their own safety, and the safety of others when in your car dealership.
- Avoid shaking hands with your customers.
- Allow those who can still work from home to do so — for example, any office staff whose shop revolves more around admin than being customer-facing.
- Use floor stickers and other bold signage to introduce social distancing rules — always maintain a two-metre space between everyone in the dealership. You could even implement a one-way system and mark out walkways around your showroom.
- Set up regular hand sanitiser stations.
- If you offer test drives, they should be unaccompanied. Therefore, you must also check that you have the correct insurance for solo test drives (discuss this with your broker before reopening the dealership). The car must be thoroughly sanitised before and after the test drive.
If you stick to all of these protocols and ensure that you put health and safety first, you’ll be able to get your business up and running again.
UK print company Where The Trade Buys, currently producing PPE for UK retail stores, workplaces, education spaces, charity shops, the NHS and more.