NEW YORK –
The Big Apple certainly has been one of the hardest-hit cities by the coronavirus, but New Yorkers who need to purchase a vehicle or renew a lease now can visit dealerships in person, although by appointment only, stemming from a decision made by state officials and recapped by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association (GYNADA).
According to a news release distributed on Tuesday, GYNADA explained the new state guidance, which comes with detailed protocols to ensure the safety of customers and employees, permits dealerships to schedule one-on-one appointments to see and test drive a vehicle and meet with a sales representative.
The announcement arrived a week after GNYADA, working with other associations in New York State, submitted a plan to the governor’s office to restart safe on-site sales amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Officials said walk-ins are still not permitted, so customers must call to make an appointment prior to visiting and speaking with a sales representative at the dealership.
During any appointments, the guidance indicated social distancing must be maintained and customers and employees in contact with one another must wear masks.
Under the new guidelines, dealership staff will ensure social distancing, require both employees and customers that enter the dealership premises to wear face masks, provide plastic covers for high-touch surfaces in the dealership and during test drives and consider instituting a dedicated schedule for at risk individuals
GNYADA also highlighted dealerships have instituted stringent cleaning and disinfecting practices.
Before a customer can take a test drive, the association said vehicles will be cleaned with EPA-approved cleaning agents, following CDC-recommended sanitization.
“Dealers have been diligent serving customers during this unprecedented crisis, and this is one way to begin reopening an important sector of the state economy,” GNYADA president Mark Schienberg said. “Since the governor’s office identified vehicles repairs and service work to be an ‘essential business.’ our dealers have followed the state and CDC’s protocols to keep their employees and their customers safe.
“Now with this new state guidance that allows face-to-face sales with prior appointment, dealers will be able to sell and lease cars more easily to those who need them. The health of our employees and customers is a top priority, and our member-dealers have been addressing this in the safest manner to provide needed services for their customers,” Schienberg continued.
GNYADA emphasized this development also helps get more people back to work at neighborhood franchised dealerships. The association pointed out franchised stores are the fifth-largest retail employer in the Metro New York region.
GNYADA represents more than 400 franchised dealers downstate, including New York City, Long Island, Westchester and surrounding counties.
Metro New York franchised dealers collectively not only are the fifth largest retail employer throughout the downstate region, they help to support 71,280 jobs, contribute $2.5 billion in local and state taxes and support a total payroll of $4.5 billion, according to an economic impact survey conducted in 2019.