|NJ CAR’s months-long effort to persuade Governor Murphy that dealership showrooms should be permitted to open “by appointment only” came to a successful conclusion today. The Governor announced at his daily press conference that effective 6 a.m. on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, new car and truck dealers will be permitted to conduct on-site sales activities.
NJ CAR previously argued to Governor Murphy and his COVID-19 response team that dealership showrooms are the ultimate social distancing environment, typically providing 10,000 square foot retail spaces with ample room to ensure the safety of employees and consumers. Moreover, NJ CAR argued that dealers have already been complying with the Governor’s COVID-19-related Executive and Administrative Orders in their service departments without issue since the start of the crisis.
The Governor’s announcement during today’s press conference simply noted that “in-person sales at auto and motorcycle dealerships and bicycle shops may resume at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow.” We have received indication from the Governor’s Office that all in-person sales activity at dealerships will be by appointment only, and further, we understand that the Governor’s pre-existing Executive and Administrative Orders governing retail activity will still apply. Accordingly, the pre-existing strict social distancing, cleaning, and personal protective equipment requirements will extend to all retail customer interactions for the foreseeable future.
However, we will have to wait until the Governor signs and releases the Administrative Order giving legal effect to his press statements before providing specific guidance to dealers in this regard. Once NJ CAR receives and reviews the Administrative Order, we will provide follow-up guidance to New Jersey dealers regarding compliance moving forward.