Boris Johnson confirmed during yesterday’s Daily Briefing that car showrooms will be able to open from Monday 1 June, as part of the next stage of the easing of lockdown measures.
This is in response to the progress made in controlling the spread of Covid-19 and the country’s ‘R-number’ remaining below 1, said the prime minister.
A guidance is being published for the sector “detailing the measures they should take to meet the necessary social distancing and hygiene standards. Shops now have the time to implement this guidance before they reopen. This will ensure there can be no doubt about what steps they should take.”
Alok Sharma, business secretary, added: “The guidance we have set out today provides a vital framework to get shops open in a way that is safe for everyone. It explains how retail workers who are not currently working can go back to work as safely as possible and feel confident in their workplace.”
The announcement will be good news for the automotive industry, which has already been hit by losses of more than £8bn due to the closures caused by Covid-19.
Commenting on the announcement, Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said: “NFDA has worked closely with SMMT to produce guidelines for retailers in line with the government’s recommendations. Retailers have been working hard to put all necessary measures in place to ensure social distancing can be observed.
“As lockdown measures start to ease, many of us will need cars to get back to work and it is crucial that automotive retailers are open to serve the workforce. The retail automotive sector looks forward to welcoming customers back into showrooms.”
The announcement comes after latest calculations from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) revealed the closure of showrooms was costing the Treasury £61m each day during the lockdown.
Other ‘non-essential retail’ stores are due to open from 15 June.