Car dealerships in Scotland can reopen on June 29 following the pandemic-enforced shutdown.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced today that non-essential retail businesses can reopen if they have outdoor entrances and exits and follow health and safety guidelines.
However, dealers have been disappointed at the delay in reopening, which will be almost a month after English dealers were given the green light.
Speaking to Car Dealer magazine, Scottish Motor Trade Association chairman Sandy Burgess said: “Firstly, it shows an extreme lack of understanding as to how the retail automotive sector operates and the impacts of late-in-the-day policy changes such as this.
“And secondly, it shows a total lack of respect for the industry at all levels, as they have not spoken to or communicated with any business in our sector before reaching this incomprehensible decision!”
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The magazine also spoke to former British Touring Car Championship winner John Cleland, who owns the Clelands dealership in Galashiels. He said: “We, and Volvo, were anticipating opening tomorrow – June 19 – but we haven’t even been told that.
“We even have staff unfurloughed in readiness for reopening tomorrow.
“It’s madness that garden centres have already been allowed to reopen and yet car dealerships up to 800 square metres can’t – showrooms are more spacious than garden centres!
“We just need to get on with this. England has a one-month head start on us. I don’t understand the delay.”
Like English dealerships during lockdown, Scottish retailers have been allowed to provide click-and-collect services. Speaking today, Sturgeon said that customers should “exercise patience, stick to the measures that are in place for your safety, and at all times please respect retail staff who will be asking you to shop in a different way”.