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News >  WA Government

Car and boat dealerships in Washington can reopen under strict rules; guidelines released for drive-in religious services

UPDATED: Wed., May 6, 2020

David Williams washes new cars in the Larry H. Miller Honda lot on a crisp first day of October 2019. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday, May 6, 2020, that car dealerships will be allowed to reopen if they follow strict rules mean to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)
David Williams washes new cars in the Larry H. Miller Honda lot on a crisp first day of October 2019. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday, May 6, 2020, that car dealerships will be allowed to reopen if they follow strict rules mean to prevent the spread of COVID-19. (Libby Kamrowski / The Spokesman-Review)

Car, truck and boat sales can resume in Washington under strict new rules to reduce the threat of exposure of customers and employees to COVID-19.

Gov. Jay Inslee also released guidelines for drive-in religious services that can start this week.

State guidelines for car and boat sales released Wednesday evening call for customers to contact a dealership by phone, email or through a website, with a salesperson working from home responding to guide a potential buyer through a website to review models.

Sales, financing and other documentation would be handled remotely, with as much completed electronically as possible. Any paperwork that must be signed in person must be signed with the customer’s own pen, or with the customer wearing gloves.

“A dealership employee answers any questions about the transaction over the phone or while maintaining at least 6 feet in distancing,” the guidelines say.

Specific rules for test driving aren’t specifically mentioned in the new guidelines.

Vehicles and boats must have all hard surfaces sanitized before delivery, and the same process must be used to sanitize a trade-in.

For boat sales, all customers must wash or sanitize their hands before entering a vessel in an outdoor display or in the water; hand sanitizer or soap, water and disposable towels must be available after customers have been in the boat. Only one person will be allowed in a boat at a time unless they live in the same household.

Employers also will be required to train their workers in the ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including at least 6 feet of separation between staff and customers at all times. When that amount of physical distancing isn’t possible, other prevention measures such as barriers, staggered breaks or work shifts are required.

Dealerships must keep a log with contact information for employees and customers who have interacted in person on the work site.

The guidelines are a result of “a strong collaborative process” between state officials and the industry, Inslee said.

For drive-in religious services, attendees must arrive in an enclosed vehicle and stay in it for the entire service. The windows, sunroofs and convertible tops must remain closed during the service unless the vehicle is parked more than 6 feet from another vehicle.

“Faith is so important at all times but especially during times of crisis and difficulty,” Inslee said in a news release announcing the changes. “This unique drive-in service option will allow people to come together.”

Each vehicle can only hold members of the same household who have already been in close contact with each other and are not sick

No food beverages or other materials can be distributed or collected as part of the service. Accepting donations online is listed as “the best practice” but they can be made in a drop box when the vehicles enter or leave the service, as long as vehicles and individuals remain 6 feet apart at all times.

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