Dealerships across the country may be faced with the reality they'll need to temporarily close showrooms under various state governors' orders to stay at home and shutter nonessential businesses to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Governors across the country continue to issue stay-at-home orders requiring nonessential businesses to close. In many cases, dealerships have been deemed essential businesses for service and parts. But auto sales have been treated differently in the orders, leading to uncertainty and confusion for dealerships.
New York and Pennsylvania ordered the closing of all non-life-sustaining businesses, prompting the shutdown of dealership sales operations, but service departments and digital sales operations remain open. Across the country, dealerships are trying to determine what the government orders mean.
In California, six counties around San Francisco are issuing a shelter-in-place order until April 7, according to a memo from the California New Car Dealers Association. The order will require nonessential businesses in those counties to close. The association said auto repair is listed as an essential business, so dealership service and parts operations should remain open.
The dealership group said in a regulatory filing that while it "does not presently intend to terminate its obligations" in the planned $1 billion Park Place deal, terminating the agreement would cost $30 million.