Tier 4: showrooms to close, again
21 December 2020
England’s new Tier 4 restrictions have been descried as “another blow to Covid-secure auto retail” by SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes, who added with frustration: “But you can still buy your Christmas tree.”
The restrictions require non-essential businesses, which includes vehicle showrooms, to close. However, click-and-collect services, where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises, can continue, as can delivery services.
The Government has now updated its Covid restrictions postcode checker to include the fourth Tier.
Health secretary Matt Hancock says everyone, particularly Tier 4 areas, must now behave as if they have the virus. A new, more infectious and rapidly-spreading strain of the virus is “out of control”. Strengthened measures could now be in place for months.
Lobby group London First chairman Paul Drechsler said businesses across the region would feel pain but wanted “to do what is necessary now to avoid a further lockdown in January… we don’t want to be checking in and out of Hotel California”.
The rest of the UK also plans stricter measures. The whole of Scotland will placed in the strictest Level 4 measures from Boxing Day, forcing non-essential shops to close. The whole of Wales is now under Level 4 restrictions which are in line with England’s Tier 4 rules.
Northern Ireland begins a six-week lockdown on Boxing Day. Non-essential businesses must close, although MOT centres are expected to stay open – with clarification expected on where vehicles can be washed ahead of the test.
Vertu’s Robert Forrester has stressed that areas in Tiers 1, 2 and 3 “can still visit us as normal“. Mr Forrester included a table of what car buyers can and can’t do: the only difference is that in Tier 4, they can’t enter the showroom. “Whichever tier your area has been placed in, your local dealership remains focused on supporting customers, colleagues and local communities.”