What England’s new tier system means for garages

The government has set out its new coronavirus tier system which will apply from 2 December and will see most of England in the two toughest levels of restrictions.

Around 23 million people across 21 local authority areas will be in the highest level – tier three – including Birmingham, Leeds, Sheffield, Tees Valley Combined Authority and North East Combined Authority.

Lancashire, Leicester, Lincolnshire, Slough, Bristol, Kent and Medway will also be in tier three.

Related: MOT testing can continue in Scotland, DVSA confirms

A majority of places are in the second highest level – tier two – including London, and Liverpool city region.

The Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly will be the only areas of England in the lowest level of curbs – tier one.

Warrington and Liverpool are the only two places in the country which will face eased restrictions from 2 December – both are moving from tier three of the previous lockdown system to tier two.

Can garages stay open?

Garage Wire understands that garage businesses can continue to operate in a COVID-secure manner, no matter what tier they are in.

In a statement, the DVSA said: “To help ensure MOT testing can be conducted safely, you can read our guidance for MOT testers about operating safely during coronavirus.

“Across all tiers, you and DVSA staff must wear a face covering in communal areas indoors eg: reception and retail areas.

“There are some exemptions from wearing a face covering.”

MOT expiry date extensions

A second extension to MOT expiry dates is unlikely to be introduced, although the DVSA told Garage Wire that it couldn’t be ruled out completely.

The agency has advised garages to stay open and motorists should have a valid test certificate.

What are the rules on face coverings?

Face coverings must be worn by garage staff working in any indoor area that is open to the public.

If a business has taken steps in line with Health and Safety Executive guidance for COVID-19 secure workplaces to create a physical barrier between workers and members of the public then staff behind the barrier will not be required to wear a face covering.

For other indoor settings, employers should assess the use of face coverings on a case-by-case basis depending on the workplace environment, other appropriate mitigations they have put in place, and whether exemptions or reasonable excuses apply.

Related: MOT demand peaks with test stations now facing a fall in volume

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