03 Jun Automotive Facilities OPEN FOR BUSINESS CHECKLIST
With states easing restrictions and Stay-At-Home Orders, customers are returning to your dealership. According to Google’s In-Market Auto Show Research as of May 2020, 800,000 people are currently in the market for a new vehicle.
Dealerships need to carefully consider what measures to put in place that will provide confidence to customers and employees alike. Customers should see what has been done to ensure their safety.
To assist with this, The Redmond Company has created an ‘Open For Business Checklist’. The checklist includes information on facility needs, personnel and customer support, communication planning, health precautions and cleaning protocols.
While the full impact of COVID-19 on facilities has yet to be determined, we hope the strategies shared below will provide guidance for your dealership and help you create a safer and healthier environment.
PLANNING & COMMUNICATION & TRAINING
- Identify and evaluate high risk health areas, which include congregation areas and frequently touched surfaces.
- Complete a facility assessment to evaluate building systems and functionality, such as HVAC. Consider HVAC best practices: Flush out pathogens by bringing more fresh air into the facility on a more frequent basis; filter out pathogens by using higher rated air filters on the main air ducts; destroy pathogens by using UV light radiation systems on the main air ducts.
- Ensure adequate PPE supplies are on-hand. This includes Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing thermometers and cleaning supplies.
- Identify essential workers to remain onsite. Make accommodations to their workspaces first. Assess roles of at-risk personnel that may need to be reassigned to lower risk roles. Plan phased scenarios for returning to a fully staffed environment.
- Create guidelines and provide training on new protocols. Identify necessary revisions to Human Resources policies.
- Communicate new protocols with wayfinding and signage. Signs to include health precautions being taken; social distancing; modified traffic flow; masks required; etc. Key locations are entrances, service area, reception desk, cashier stations, display fixtures, waiting areas, and digital displays.
- Create a response plan for: Personnel who report or demonstrate symptoms; have tested positive; or have been in contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Create a preparedness plan for a possible second wave of infections.
- Consider the mental health impact of the situation on both personnel and customers and provide support options.
HEALTH PRECAUTIONS & CLEANING PROTOCOLS
- Inform personnel that if they have a fever, they are not to report to work. Define requirements for their return.
- Screen for admittance to facility to mitigate risk. Provide dedicated personnel at entrance to guide queuing of incoming occupants (personnel and customers). Develop tracking procedures for collecting metrics. Determine if testing personnel is needed.
- Stagger and/or split worker shifts and scheduling, if possible.
- Establish policy against shaking hands and implement a no contact policy. Share and post for personnel and customers.
- Use protective barriers during test drives and moving returned vehicles, such as disposable mats and seat covers when applicable. Require gloves and masks for test drives and/or sitting in vehicles.
- Dedicate employees to sanitize vehicles returning from rental and test drives.
- Strategically position touchless hand sanitizing stations throughout the dealership.
- Quarantine and/or sanitize returned and used items in public spaces, such as keys, pens, and tablets.
- Re-evaluate or remove food and beverage stations.
- Establish policy as to whether personnel and customers will be required to wear face coverings. Where barriers are not feasible, strongly recommend personnel to wear face coverings. Make PPE supplies available to personnel and customers.
- Provide touchless trash containers for face coverings and disposing of hand wipes as personnel and customers exit.
- DAYTIME: Develop a schedule for areas to be cleaned. Focus on priority areas, shared devices and high-touch surfaces, such as railings, door pulls/handles, faucets, light switches, task lighting, elevator buttons, appliances, counter tops, credit card machine, snack dispenser controls, touchable screens and pads, keyboards, phones, printers, copy machines, time clock, etc. Implement cleaning protocols for vehicle keys, vehicle displays in showroom (door handles, seat adjustment controls, radio), waiting areas, breakrooms, service area, café, areas of ingress and egress, workstations, conference rooms, reception desk, cashier stations, and social/common areas at regular intervals throughout the day. Allow time between use of meeting spaces for proper sanitization.
- NIGHTTIME: Develop a deep cleaning process for all areas and all touchable surfaces, including all high-touch surfaces in daytime priority cleaning and additional items, such as tables, countertops, desktops, chair backs and arms, drawer handles, desk height controls, sneeze guards/shields, etc.
*Use guidelines provided by healthcare professionals and your local governmental units to keep your personnel informed and educated on preventing the spread of infection.
CUSTOMER INTERACTION PROTOCOLS
- Encourage customers to set up meetings by appointment.
- Greet customers in their vehicles.
- Encourage customers to wear face coverings.
- To save time on sanitizing pens, suggest customers keep the pens they use to sign documents.
- Install Beacon Technology for vehicles during solo test drives.
FACILITY PLANNING CONCEPTS
- Adjust maximum occupancy rules based on the size of your facility to limit the number of people in the dealership at one time. Capacity limits should be low enough to ensure physical distancing.
- Provide a single, clearly designated entrance and separate exit to help maintain physical distancing.
- Reconfigure seating in waiting areas. Remove unnecessary equipment. Use furniture and plants as spacing tools to manage social distancing.
- Set up healthier queueing spacing to cashier and service areas. Mark flooring to clearly identify appropriate social distancing.
- Construct temporary outside facilities, such as tents with tables and chairs to minimize congestion within the building.
- Intersperse empty bays between service technicians, when possible.
- Limit touch points by replacing or installing new touchless items: Contactless payment system; timecard system; hands free faucets; soap and paper towel dispensers; hand dryers; bathroom fixtures; garbage/recycling bins; badge readers. Consider installing sensor activated door systems or use foot operated door openers. Verify entry door swings are oriented to be pushed open in the direction of traffic which will not require occupants to grasp handles.
- Use visual markers on the floor to direct foot traffic.
- Use flooring materials, such as patterns, to reinforce 6-foot social distancing guidelines around desks and workstations.
- Reconfigure workspaces so personnel do not face one another and stagger workstations where possible.
- Rethink meeting spaces. Small meeting rooms may have poor ventilation and are easy spaces for the virus to spread. Respace chairs and put tape markers on the floor to indicate 6-foot clearances between seats.
- Install screens or temporary clear glass panel barriers at cashier stations where social distancing measures are less effective. Heighten partitions/shields between workstations that must face each other.
- Institute protocols to avoid crowding in elevators. Provide cleanable, transparent films over surfaces and buttons.
- Place limitations on the number of personnel in enclosed areas like breakrooms, etc. Stagger breaks and lunches and encourage personnel to take breaks/lunch outside or in their cars.
REDMOND – YOUR PARTNER MOVING FORWARD
We know that the needs of your personnel and customers are going to evolve as customers return to your dealership. Redmond will continue to work closely with our network of leading health organizations and industry specialists, sharing our insights and knowledge with you.
Continue to monitor appropriate regulatory agencies, such as CDC, NADA, OSHA, and other health organizations, regarding up to date protocols for the health and safety of your employees and customers. This checklist is a partial listing of strategies. Additional guidance on this transition and more details for each of the checklist items is available. For more information and advice to help you navigate creating a safer and healthier dealership, please contact us today!