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INDUSTRY bodies are joining together to provide best practice for COVID-19 protective measures.

The new guidance is designed to help the Aftermarket sector identify the measures businesses may need to take to safely operate while minimising the risk of COVID-19 transmission amongst employees and customers.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has joined with the Garage Equipment Association (GEA), Independent Automotive Aftermarket Federation (IAAF), Scottish Motor Trade Association (SMTA) and the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to compile a wide range of best practice and guidance documents.

This is intended to complement official guidance and the work of other trade associations. It should be used in accordance with the latest Government advice which may change over time.

Steve Nash, CEO of the IMI said: “The Aftermarket is, undoubtedly, going to be on the frontline as the Government is now encouraging people to go back to their workplace, if they cannot do their job from home, and where possible without using public transport.

“Owners whose vehicles have been stationary for many weeks and which might even be overdue for annual servicing or MOTs could well require assistance from their local garage.

“But they will want the reassurance that the best possible hygiene and distancing practices will be in place. Garage employees returning to work will also want the reassurance that their wellbeing is front of mind for their employers and we believe this publication, which is a real case of the industry working together, will give our collective members the vital support they need at this challenging time.

“The IMI is also fully endorsing the SMMT’s call to Government to scrap the 6 month extension to MOTs announced at the end of March.

“Whilst the motives for the initiative were sound at that time, there are serious risks in the extension remaining in place now. First and foremost, if vehicles are coming back onto the roads in volume it is vital for all road users’ safety that they are roadworthy.

“The other issue is that if all motorists wait up to 6 months from when their MOT expired to get their vehicle tested there is going to be a big backlog of tests in the Autumn and Winter which could significantly overwhelm the sector.

“That’s without taking into account the likelihood of the market shrinking simply because many businesses are unlikely to be able to survive without work coming in in the meantime.

“We believe the SMMT’s proposal to scrap the extension makes a lot of sense for road safety and will be a vital boost for a currently beleaguered sector.”

The COVID-19 Protective Measures Best Practice Guide is designed to be available in advance of any opening and any visit to an MOT or servicing garage to help overcome any anxiety for staff and customers alike.

It will be an evolving publication, reflecting feedback from staff and customers as well as any changes and issues that come to light.

The Guide can be downloaded from the IMI website here.

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