Washington State Auto-Repair Allowed to Remain Open
On Monday, March 23, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Executive Order (Proclamation by the Governor Amending Proclamation 20-05, 20-25 Stay Home – Stay Healthy). Effective midnight, March 25, 2020, and remaining in effect until at least midnight on April 6, 2020, Stay Home, Stay Healthy states that “All people in Washington State shall immediately cease leaving their home or place of residence except: (1) to conduct or participate in essential activities, and/or (2) for employment in essential business services” (emphasis in original).
The Proclamation also states that “all non-essential businesses in Washington State shall cease operations except for performing basic minimum functions” (emphasis in original). While encouraging essential businesses to stay open, Stay Home, Stay Healthy goes on to mandate that those businesses “must establish and implement social distancing and sanitation measures established by the United States Department of Labor or the Washington State Department of Health Guidelines” (emphasis in original). The Proclamation also specifies that violators “may be subject to criminal penalties.”
An appendix to Stay Home, Stay Healthy explains that “Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers” are employed in a number of critical sectors, including “Transportation and Logistics.” Within that sector, it is specified that an “Essential Workforce” includes those employed by automotive repair and maintenance facilities. The Transportation and Logistics sector does not reference individuals employed by automotive sales facilities, nor are those individuals or businesses mentioned anywhere in the appendix. Under Stay Home, Stay Healthy, this means that automotive salespersons are not considered part of the Essential Workforce and that automotive sales is considered a non-essential business. Any business that is non-essential under Stay Home, Stay Healthy can request designation as essential.
To comply with the sanitation measures required by Stay Home, Stay Healthy, dealers should reference Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19 published by The United States Department of Labor. Amongst the guidance it offers are “Steps All Employers Can Take to Reduce Workers’ Risk of Exposure to SARS-CoV-2,” the virus that causes COVID-19.
Those steps include:
- Develop and Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response Plan;
- Prepare to Implement Basic Infection Prevention Measures;
- Develop Policies and Procedures for Prompt Identification and Isolation of Sick People, if Appropriate;
- Develop, Implement, and Communicate about Workplace Flexibilities and Protections;
- Implement Workplace Controls; and
- Follow Existing OSHA Standards