Dealerships, Free Access Articles, News

UPDATED: 3/08/2021

NEW and used-car showrooms in south-east Queensland – including Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast – have been closed to the public and will operate on a ‘click and collect’ basis until August 8.

The directive of the Queensland chief health officer is more stringent than the previous Queensland notice. The Motor Trades Association of Queensland said vehicle repair, service and maintenance “may be considered necessary to maintain essential services or supplies to the community during lockdown and therefore can operate.”

“New and used car, motorcycle and farm machinery dealer showrooms are now advised to close. Vehicle pick-up should be on a case-by-case basis and only when critical.”

UPDATED: 29/07/2021

NEW and used-car showrooms in Greater Sydney and surrounding lockdown areas have now closed to the public and are operating on a ‘click and collect’ basis.

The Australian Automotive Dealers Association said the move means all inquiries should be made online, by phone or email. Parts and service departments will remain open and operate on social distancing and mask-wearing rules in line with the need to keep vehicles moving and reduce the need for public transport.

UPDATED: 27/07/2021

VICTORIA will ease restrictions from 11.59pm tonight, Tuesday July 27 with businesses open for trade with some conditions, including a one-person per 4sq.m rule and mandatory wearing of masks indoors and outdoors.

The same easing of restrictions has been announced for South Australia, which has recorded no new COVID cases in the past week of its lockdown.

UPDATED: 21/07/2021

VICTORIA has announced a lockdown across the state effective until 11.59pm on Tuesday July 27 while South Australia has entered a seven-day lockdown until Tuesday July 27, and in NSW, major parts of the state are locked down until at least the end of August.

The South Australian case will have the same restrictions as Victoria. For the automotive industry, businesses can continue to operate with conditions.

There will be five reasons for people to leave home:

  • shopping for things that are needed (once per day)
  • care and caregiving
  • exercise (up to two hours per day)
  • authorised work and permitted education
  • to get vaccinated and other specified reasons.

The limitation on exercise and shopping will be 5km from home or, if not in the radius, the closest shop.

The Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce (VACC) told GoAutoNews Premium that automotive businesses can continue to operate through the Victorian lockdown as authorised providers and workers.

These are:

  • Petrol stations, including a petrol station that sells groceries
  • Vehicle and mechanical repair services, including ‘log book’ servicing
  • ‘Click and collect/delivery’ services
  • Emergency repair workers
  • Roadside assistance services
  • Ancillary and support businesses, where necessary for the operations of an authorised provider
  • Administrative services provided by an employer to enable its employees to work from home – e.g. payroll and IT services
  • Truck stops and roadhouses, but not the provision of seated dining or shower facilities to persons who are not transport, freight or logistics drivers.

Customers are reminded that the requirements are:

– Masks are mandatory when visiting the dealership.

– Check-in via the Service Victoria QR Code is required for contact.

– As confirmed by the VACC, you may travel further than 5km from your home to access this necessary service.

– Many dealerships and repairers offer a complimentary contactless home pick-up service.

In NSW, the The Motor Traders Association said repairers and dealers were not businesses which must close under Clause 24 of the Public Health (COVID-19 Temporary Movement and Gathering Restrictions) Order 2021 which came into effect at 6pm on June 26, 2021.

“Therefore, they can be open for and conduct business,” the MTA NSW said.

Queensland has ended its lockdown period that applied to Brisbane and Moreton Bay but like other areas, there are rules on social distancing and the requirement to wear face masks when not in the home or car.

The MTA NSW’s general manager of member services and marketing, Anthony Barac-Dunn, told GoAutoNews Premium that employees of our members are not subject to the stay at home orders within the Greater Sydney area if it is not practicable for them to undertake their work activities at home.

“This probably means that back-office staff such as finance and marketing, can insist on working from home, but front-line staff such as sales, service staff, mechanics, tyre fitters and others cannot perform their duties at home and therefore are to attend work,” he said.

“Customers of these businesses can leave their homes to attend the premises of our members as this fits within one of the exceptions to the stay at home orders being ‘obtaining food or other goods or services for the personal needs of the household or other household purposes’.”

The MTA NSW said that if its members remain open then the current restrictions around:

  • Mandatory wearing of face masks in indoor settings
  • 1 person per 4sqm rule
  • Maximum of 25 persons in the premises
  • Social distancing rules

All apply to the operation of the businesses. As for the mask wearing there are a range of exceptions but for our embers the most relevant are:

  • The person is at work and the nature of the person’s work makes the wearing of a fitted face covering a risk to the person’s or another persons’ health and safety, and
  • The removal of the fitted face covering is necessary for the proper provision of the goods or services.

“Therefore, if staff of our members need to remove the face mask to perform their work, such as a mechanic, they are allowed to do so,” Mr Barac-Dunn said.

“However, there are no such exceptions to the customers who may attend our members’ businesses.”

The Northern Territory, which in Darwin entered a 72-hour lockdown that ended 1pm July 2, had closed at all businesses – retail outlets, hospitality venues, gyms, pools and community centres – while cafes and restaurants were able to offer take-away and delivery services.

Alice Springs entered a 72-hour lockdown at 1pm June 30.

It meant dealerships and independent repairers had closed for sales and service and repair. An essential worker in the lockdown area could only leave the area if their essential work cannot be reasonably achieved in that area.

People were only permitted to leave home for the following five reasons. Masks must be worn at all times when leaving home:

  1. To receive health care or attend medical appointments. Including to get the COVID-19 vaccine
  2. To undertake shopping and get necessary goods and services. Supermarkets will stay open, so there is no need to stock up on groceries.
  3. To exercise for up to one hour a day within 5km of your home and only with members of your household or one other person.
  4. To undertake essential work. If you can work from home – you must work from home.
  5. In case of an emergency or if there is family violence or to provide essential care to a loved one or dependent.

In Western Australia, dealerships were closed but motorists could get their vehicles serviced and repaired through franchises or independent outlets.

The WA lockdown covered only Perth and Peel (Mandurah and surrounds) districts and ended 12.01am Saturday July 3.

In Queensland, the restrictions covered areas of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Townsville, Lockyer Valley, Somerset and Scenic Rim until 6pm Friday July 2 with some areas 24 hours longer.

The MTA Queensland said that the implications for businesses in the automotive industry would be the same as those restriction definitions from earlier this year.

“That is, where businesses from an industry or sector are not specified in Schedule 3 of the Direction, the business can continue to operate and remain open,” it said.

“Therefore automotive service and repair, dealers, auto parts manufacturing/parts supply are not required to close.”

But auction houses were required to close during the lockdown period unless an exception had been given.

The MTAQ said that from 1am, Friday July 9, the Check In Qld app was mandatory for a number of new sectors including all auction houses and businesses who are located inside a shopping centre, or operate a retail store where customers enter and browse.

“We recommend all member businesses install the Check In Qld app where possible.”

The requirements for the affected areas in Queensland are that people will be required to carry a mask at all times when you are outside your home, unless:

  • you are alone in your car or with the members of your household
  • you are at your usual workplace and can physically distance from others
  • you are alone outdoors or with members of your household.

You must also wear a mask in indoor spaces, such as:

  • shopping centres and supermarkets
  • hospitals and aged care facilities, if permitted to visit
  • indoor workplaces (where it is safe to wear a mask and you can’t physically distance)
  • public transport, taxis and rideshare, and waiting places or queues for this transport
  • airports and travelling on planes.

Read more: restrictions for Victorian dealers during June 2021

By Neil Dowling

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