The UK’s independent garage owners are facing tough decisions in the weeks and months ahead as the UK’s lockdown continues.
It is has now been confirmed that MOT centres and garages can remain open during the UK’s lockdown to service the needs of blue light services, key workers and for individuals who rely on their vehicle to shop for basic necessities, for any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person and to travel to and from work where it cannot be done from home.
The UK’s automotive aftermarket supply chain is also exempt from forced government closure to ensure workshops have access to the parts and services required to operate.
However it remains down to individual garage owners to evaluate their own position and capabilities.
A Garage Wire reader poll suggests that 72 per cent remain open but with the coronavirus situation changing daily, many are uncertain about how long that will be the case.
Hayley Pells of Avia Autos in Bridgend, which is currently open at reduced hours, is encouraging other garages to remain open to help support those requiring essential travel.
She recently welcomed customer, Mr Doyle, who waited at a safe distance for his car to be repaired.
Getting his car back on the road was particularly important for Mr Doyle, who’s in isolation but needs to attend regular chemotherapy appointments.
“We have to consider all aspects of the business”
Tim Benson of Oldfields Garage in Leominster is one the garage owners that has taken the tough decision to temporarily close during the lockdown.
He said: “After much deliberation and consideration, we have taken the decision to temporarily shut until further notice.
“Our plan was to stay open using special measures, but with updated and ongoing guidance we feel we aren’t able to do that as we would have hoped.
“Whilst we are classed as an essential service and specifically excluded from the business told to close, we have to consider all aspects of the business along with the escalating situation.
“We don’t want to let our loyal customers down but we have to consider the severity of the situation and the impact on our staff.”
Aaron Phillips of Jackson & Phillips Automotive Services in Leighton Buzzard has now also closed his garage.
He said: “We have now decided the most responsible course of action to keep everyone safe is to close up temporarily and wait for all this to blow over.
“It’s a very worrying time with lots of difficult decisions to be made.
“I’ve been in touch with our county council and we will be receiving some support so fingers crossed we’ll be able to make up the difference when we re-open.”
Keep your comments and experiences coming in on how you’re dealing with the current situation. Comment below or email [email protected].