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Covid-19 Health and Safety Advisory For Dealerships Performing Essential Work

Apr 07, 2020

Do the best you can to protect yourself and protect others!

Covid-19 has transformed how we socially interact with each other in business and virtually all aspects of our daily lives. What was, just a few weeks ago, socially expected as part of sales and service to our customers- a handshake, a pat on the back, a test drive, and all the close personal interactions that allow us to relate socially- is exactly how Covid-19 travels from person to person. Scientists are just unlocking the secrets of this virus, but what makes it different than a normal, seasonal flu is that it’s highly contagious and potentially more deadly.

New Jersey is getting hit hard with the virus. When working in these conditions it’s important to follow all federal and state guidelines to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Remember, the point of everything we’re all doing is to prevent the spread of the virus.

If you are sick, stay home!

If you’ve been exposed, stay home!

If you have tested positive for Covid-19, let your employer know, so that they can take steps to mitigate the potential exposure to others properly.

For more detailed information and other important steps you can take to protect yourself and others, please visit the CDC Resources For Businesses & Employers webpage.

Each of us will continue to play a crucial role in stopping this pandemic. Covid-19 cannot be transmitted if it has nowhere to go! Continue taking the following steps and help stop the spread!


Washing hands frequently- Before and After Any Potential Exposure

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in contact with a customer, high-touch items or areas, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands.
  • If you need to sneeze or cough, go to an area where there are not any people and use a tissue or cough or sneeze into your shirt at the elbow. Discard the tissue and wash your hands. Never openly cough or sneeze toward others or into the open air!

*** Do not touch your face, especially near your eyes, nose and mouth. If you must touch your face, eyes mouth or nose, wash or use hand sanitizer before and after!

Social Distancing. Maintain a distance of at least six feet between you and other people.

Under normal conditions, we maintain roughly three feet or less between ourselves and another person, so maintaining twice this distance requires some administrative planning and continued employee awareness.
  • Consider setting up an example of what 6-feet apart looks like for employees and customers using tape on the floor and/or signs. Place these around high traffic areas. 
  • Space out workstations and shop bays so that all employees are working at least six feet apart
  • Create 6 feet of social distancing when checking in and checking out customers. For example, use tape to create 6 feet from the counter to where the customer should stand. When the customer needs to approach the counter to complete a transaction have the employee stand back 6 feet from the back of the counter (again a piece of tape on the floor can help everyone to know where to stand and uses two-way social distancing when conducting transactions.)
  • Provide hand sanitizer and disinfect any areas where interactions occur.

Dealerships generate paperwork from just about every department and completing paperwork creates close interactions and exposure between parties.

  • Set up and use online transactions, when possible.
  • Take credit card/debit payments for services online, email receipts, and ask customers to schedule appointments online so that your dealership can control the amount of people in and out of the dealership at any point in time.
  • Try not to handle cash and credit cards, when you do, wash your hands and do not touch your face.
  • Use audio/video conferencing, such as GoToMeeting or other online video meeting platform, when finalizing car sales and lease options, if possible.
***At some point, you will not be able to avoid handling paperwork or other high-touch items. Remember to practice social distancing, wear disposable gloves if you have them, properly dispose of gloves and wash hands frequently. Do this before and after all potential transmission or exposure.

Set up a schedule to clean and disinfect all areas of the dealership

  • Clean and disinfect, frequently throughout the day, all high-touch and high-exposure areas, such as door handles, telephones, light switches, desks, chairs, vehicle controls, steering wheels, car door handles, bathrooms, breakrooms, refrigerators, counter tops and any other high-touch areas around the dealership.
You can get more information on EPA-approved disinfectants HERE.
You can also make a disinfectant with household bleach (bleach may be more readily available than other products) and water, to clean hard surface areas. Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
  • Make sure you label contents of all chemical containers
  • Spot check areas that you are concerned about to prevent damage to surfaces
  • Read labels on all chemicals before using them.

Delivery and Handling of Vehicles

  • Follow social distancing best practices by placing 6 feet markers in vehicle delivery and service areas. This makes it easier for employees and customers to adhere to social distance guidelines. Make sure customer waiting areas adhere to social distancing guidelines. Clean and disinfect these areas frequently.
  • Upon entering a vehicle, wear disposable gloves and wipe down all high touch areas with approved disinfectants. Make sure chemicals are appropriate for the surface being cleaned and will not result in damage. Read and follow all chemical labels on proper use!
  • Try to disinfect vehicles as they arrive and before they are released back to the owner.
  • Disinfect door handles, inside and outside the vehicle, touch screens, middle consoles, gear shifters, car keys and cell phones. If available, use a protective steering wheel cover, which will further help prevent the spread of virus. 
  • Wash hands before and after any exposure to high-touch areas. Do not touch your face while performing these work functions.

Personal Protective Equipment

Social Distancing and washing your hands are the best defense against the spread of Covid 19. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) can also be very effective but, if used incorrectly, can give the user a false sense of protection. Make sure when using any type of PPE that you are healthy enough to use it and that it’s safe for you to use this equipment properly. Follow all manufacturing, federal, and state guidelines.

N95 rated Respirator and Face Coverings

N95-rated respirators help prevent both contracting and spreading virus, but must fit to create a proper seal on the users face, and the user must use the PPE correctly every single time to function as needed!
Respirators like those with an N95 rating are currently required by OSHA under 29 CFR 1910.134 for employees in high-exposure occupations. In high-exposure occupations, like our medical providers on the front lines of this pandemic and in the auto industry where there are chemical and spray painting operations, OSHA 29 CFR 1910.134  requires a written respiration program, professional fit tests of respirators for the user, and a medical exam to determine if the user is fit enough to safely wear the type of respirator required to perform the work safely.
The doctors and nurses on the front lines fighting this pandemic need these masks and they are, currently, in short supply. The CDC now recommends that if there are times where you will be in close contact, closer than six feet, with others you should consider wearing a face covering. Click HERE for more information on the CDC’s current recommendations.
If you are unknowingly infected, or come into contact with someone that’s unknowingly infected, both the front and back of the face covering could be exposed to the virus so it’s important to properly take on and take off the mask every single time.
  • Wash hands before and after putting a mask on and taking it off.
  • Continue to make every attempt to maintain social distance guidelines of six feet or more.
  •  Dispose of, or if possible, wash the face covering.
  • If you must touch the front or the back of a potentially infected mask again, wash hands before and after
  • Once you have put the mask on, leave it alone and do not touch your face or the mask.  If you must touch the mask to adjust it, or for any other reason, wash your hands.

Click on the following link for a short NJ CAR video on the Proper Use of A Respirator.

Disposable Gloves
Disposable gloves can be used by employees who are exposed to high-touch/high-exposure areas. There is a proper way to wear and use disposable gloves so that they do not become another surface that spreads the virus.
  • Disposable (single use) gloves are exactly that- disposable- and are meant for a single use!
  • Do not wash and reuse disposable gloves.
  • Disposable gloves such as nitrile or latex gloves, must be replaced as soon as practical when contaminated or as soon as feasible if they are torn, punctured, or when their ability to function as a barrier is compromised.
  • Disposable gloves can be used when the employees cannot readily wash hands and there is a possibility the employee will continually come into contact with potentially infected individuals or surfaces.
  • Disposable gloves should be disposed of before leaving the work environment.
  • Properly discard in a closed trash container after use.

Click on the following link for a short NJ CAR video on the Proper Use of Disposable Gloves.