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State car dealers pumping brakes on reopening, waiting for safety plan

Categories // Dealer Alerts, COVID-19, Dealer Alerts

SEATTLE — Even though Gov. Inslee’s state reopening phase one suggests car dealers will reopen on May 5, the industry will be forced to remain in park until a comprehensive list of safety measures is approved by the State Department of Labor and Industries and signed by the governor.

The next steps may happen within the next few days, but some area dealerships have been preparing to open for weeks.

"We're going to meet and exceed every safety standard they set," said Phil Mitchell, owner of Sunset Chevrolet in Sumner, who added that his dealership already has more safety measures in place than the state may require.

"We've already got a COVID coordinator in place, so we make sure we do employee training and we make sure we document everything throughout the whole process," Mitchell said.

The Washington State Auto Dealers Association gave KIRO 7 an exclusive advanced look at a video before it was sent to every auto dealer in the state on Tuesday, showing every safety measure dealers must install to open to customers legally.

The video shows the personal protective equipment they have to wear and provide to customers. All customer interactions will require a mask and gloves, according to the video.

Every dealer must also take the temperature of every worker and complete a symptom checklist before workers enter the building. Every dealer will also require a COVID-19 supervisor to make sure every step to sanitize cars— and every other requirement— meets state standards.

"I've got a full -time cleaning crew disinfecting everything," Mitchell said. "We disinfect the customer's trade before we drive it, we disinfect the vehicle before we deliver it; I'm trying to prepare in every way I can.''

When car dealers around the state like Sunset shut down and laid off workers, it also cost the state staggering amounts of money.

According to the Washington State Auto Dealers Association, our state has lost about $100.6 million in state and local taxes from the time car dealers were shut down to the end of April.

Every single day, our state has lost about $3.3 million in taxes just from shuttered car dealers.

Gov. Inslee’s office told KIRO 7 that dealerships could open sometime this week, when the governor approves the safety plan.

Orignal story from Kiro7 website