Elsewhere in these pages this week, readers will see the results of this year's Automotive News Best Dealerships To Work For program. As in the eight preceding years, the listed dealers deserve recognition for their commitment to treating employees and team members as the valuable assets they are.
This year, the lessons shared by these top dealerships are especially poignant given the tumultuous times. It is notable that each of the stores has been able to successfully weather the pandemic in large part because of the loyalty they had previously shown to their employees, and the dedication that those employees returned in kind.
With vaccines for COVID-19 on track to begin distribution in the U.S. as early as this month, the automotive retail industry can begin to plan for the days when the threat of illness and death won't hang on every public interaction.
But the planning stage is where we must stay, at least for now. This nation remains many months from a return to pre-COVID activities and safety levels, and until that point, mask use and social distancing must remain mandatory to fight the spread of the virus. That is true in auto dealerships as in other businesses that regularly interact with the public. Even nine months in, too many dealerships continue to suffer COVID-19 outbreaks among their staffs because of lax adherence to safety protocols, or worse, a disbelief in the proven efficacy of masking and social distancing.