Governor releases dealership specific guidance for phase 2 workplace openings


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Today, May 7, 2020, Governor Newsom’s office released Phase 2 guidance of the California Resilience Roadmap for “lower-risk workplaces” detailing the steps businesses in specific industries must take to reopen. This guidance becomes effective May 8, the same day when designated lower-risk workplaces may open across the state with modification. The auto dealer guidance includes some specific requirements, but largely shifts to dealers the burden of assessing risk and developing plans to mitigate risk.

The Phase 2 guidance applies to every dealer in the State of California. Local orders may impose additional restrictions, as discussed below, but every dealer in the state must do all of the following:

  • Prepare a written, worksite specific prevention plan
  • Perform a comprehensive risk assessment of all work areas
  • Designate a person at each facility to implement and monitor the plan
  • Train employees regarding the prevention plan
  • Regularly evaluate the plan for compliance and correct deficiencies with documentation
  • Investigate any COVID-19 illness among an employee and assess if work-related factors contributed to risk
  • Identify close-contacts of any infected employee

Notably, these requirements include written policies and documentation of compliance efforts, and are likely to be in place for months. Every dealer should therefore invest now in creating and documenting a workable plan.

The auto dealer guidance includes notable specific measures, including the following:

  • Dedicate employees to sanitize vehicles returning from rentals and test drives
  • Use protective barriers such as mats and seat covers during test drives and when moving vehicles
  • Limit passengers during test drives to a single customer, with the employee sitting in the back
  • Offer curbside delivery or pickup of vehicles
  • Move sales and service agreement to remote or digital platforms, where feasible
  • Discontinue shuttle service

Dealers in locations with local orders may have additional requirements. For example, dealers in Bay Area counties may currently only operate as outdoor retailers (see FAQ). Further, for dealers in locations that require formal Social Distancing Protocols, it is unclear at this time whether the Phase 2 guidance may replace the Protocols.

Scali Rasmussen’s COVID-19 Task Force has been working with dealers across the state to respond to the pandemic, and has prepared guidance covering and anticipating the Governor’s guidance. We are therefore offering cost-effective policies, procedures, employee forms, customer waivers and training covering all of the following topics:

  • Mandated written, worksite specific prevention plan
  • Dealership risk assessment forms
  • Test drive policies, including customer waivers
  • Remote sales and off-site delivery policy and customer waivers
  • Employee training and acknowledgments

Contact our attorneys today to quickly and cost-effectively get your store into compliance with the Governor’s order.