In early May, after the federal government listed auto sales as an essential service and California loosened its stay-at-home restrictions, Ellena Sweet began putting together a team to tackle the myriad guidelines and regulations for businesses permitted to open during the coronavirus pandemic.
"In the beginning, it was very high-intensive because there was so much coming at you from so many different sides every single day," said Sweet, who is the compliance and outreach director at Stevens Management Co., a dealership group headquartered in Morgan Hill, Calif. "It felt like regulations could be changing every hour sometimes."
To get a better handle on the specific needs and health and safety protocols of the four-store group, Sweet spearheaded an effort to form COVID-19 committees at each dealership that meet on a weekly or as-needed basis and share strategies to improve business practices during the pandemic.
The four stores — Fresno Acura, Mercedes-Benz of Modesto, Modesto Subaru and Marin Acura — and the business office employ more than 200. In 2019, the group sold more than 4,500 new and used vehicles.