The government has confirmed a second lockdown will come into effect from Thursday November 5 at 00:01 in England, forcing all non-essential retail to close.
Much to the disappointment of the automotive industry, this includes car dealerships, which will have to close their doors until at least December 2.
During the first lockdown earlier in the year, dealers were allowed to offer click and collect services as well as delivering vehicles to customers’ homes.
Government documentation indicates that this is the case for the second lockdown – in England, at least.
The documents say: “Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
“A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law.”
However, dealerships in Wales cannot offer click and collect services.
For customers, that means they can complete the buying process online or over the phone and have the car delivered to their door. Buyers in England can collect the vehicle as long as the dealership has social distancing measures in place. Most dealers implemented these measures during the previous lockdown, so it shouldn’t be a problem for most.
The car industry has reacted negatively to the news that car retailers must close.
Mike Hawes, CEO of industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “As England heads back into lockdown, we need to keep business operating. Auto Manufacturing must have its showrooms open; it’s proven safe & secure, a very different environment from other retail premises. We need to keep the economy turning – safely – and prevent wider job losses.”
Meanwhile, Robert Forrester, CEO of dealer group Vertu Motors, tweeted: “Very disappointed to read in the papers about a potential proper lockdown. If proves correct, I am afraid it will do a lot more damage to society and economy than any benefit re Covid.”