Auto repair shops that choose to remain open in provinces where other ‘non-essential’ services must close, should limited their work to emergency vehicles and those owned by essential service providers like first responders and medical personnel.
That’s the recommendation of the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA) which this morning clarified what it means to be designated as an “essential service” during the ongoing pandemic.
Most notably, the association is stressing, the designation of “essential business” does not means that auto repair shops must stay open. It means simply that they may stay open when non-essential businesses must remain closed.
“The decision to stay open is up to each individual company,” an email notice from the association says. “Work should be limited to providing service and maintenance to other industries and individuals designated as essential services by local, provincial and federal authorities.”
While remaining open, these businesses have a duty to protect the health and safety of their staff and customers, the AIA said.
AIA also provided steps that businesses can take to keep employees and customers safe.
At all times, follow the advice and instructions provided by municipal, provincial and federal health authorities.
Staff who are sick, symptomatic or in a high-risk group should stay home.
Provide hand sanitizer and soap for frequent hand cleaning.
Keep customers and vendors out of the shop. You have the right to screen customers and refuse entry for health and safety reasons. (see the Retail Council of Canada’s COVID-19 FAQ)
Stagger shifts, breaks and lunch hours to decrease staff interaction and increase physical distancing.
Move staff meetings to a digital format where possible.
Schedule appointments to limit the number of people at the shop at any one time.
Use photo estimation as much as possible.
Vehicles should be thoroughly disinfected when received from a customer and when returned to them.
Whatever steps your shop takes during this time should be clearly communicated to staff and customers and they should be on board with them.