Nevada car dealers can stay open during pandemic |

Nevada car dealers can stay open during pandemic

The governor’s COVID-19 response team says car dealerships are allowed to remain open for business during the virus pandemic.

“Car sales may continue, but we expect car dealerships to use delivery when possible, to use contactless payment when possible and that dealerships follow the aggressive social distancing protocols for patrons and outlined in the governor’s directive and accompanying regulation,” said Nevada Health Response spokeswoman Meghin Delaney.

Dealerships were not specifically listed as essential businesses in the governor’s directives but they received word this week that they can stay open during the 30-day shutdown.

The decision is important to Carson City since auto dealer sales are by far the capital’s largest sales tax generator, accounting for about a quarter of each month’s total revenue.

Calls to Carson City Toyota and Michael Hohl Honda/Subaru confirmed the dealerships were open for business.

Andy MacKay, director of the Nevada Franchised Auto Dealers Association, said dealers are operating under severe restrictions including limited access to the showrooms.

“They’re driving people to the Internet, online and try to complete all or as much of the deal as humanly possible then deliver to the individual’s home or place of business,” he said.

But he made it clear the dealerships are suffering: “The bottom has fallen out. Just the volume going in the service drive is off by 70 percent.”

MacKay said the governor’s directives included auto repair and other functions as essential, especially the trucking industry that is responsible for stocking grocery shelves and delivering all sorts of other goods to stores.

“We’ll get through this,” he said.