Best Practices for Maryland Dealerships

Dear WANADA Members,

In response to Governor Larry Hogan's stay-at-home order, which goes into effect tonight at 8 p.m., we are issuing a new set of guidelines to dealers in the state of Maryland, including a recommendation that dealers close all sales showrooms in the state to the general public.

While Governor Hogan's order retains last week's state legal interpretation that defines both auto dealerships and auto repair facilities as "essential services," he said that "those businesses must make every effort to scale down their operations in order to reduce staff, limit interactions with customers, and institute telework as much as is practical."

As a result, and in conjunction with our partners at the Maryland Auto Dealers Association, we are issuing the following guidance:
  • Sales Departments should be closed to the general public. All sales activity should be done by appointment or conducted online, and customers can be given the option of home delivery. All sales activities should reflect the governor's guidelines on social distancing for employees and customers.
  • Service and Parts Departments can remain open. Please make sure distancing guidelines are enforced and that you are keeping detailed records of your compliance efforts.
  • Management and back-office operations should be limited to essential functions only. Telecommuting should be used whenever possible.
We have also included a sample letter for your employees to keep in their vehicle which states that car and truck dealerships are essential businesses, should they be stopped by law enforcement.

There is no question that auto sales, and certainly auto repairs, are critical parts of the nation's transportation infrastructure. We know that there are many essential reasons why someone would need to buy, lease, or trade in a new car at this time, and we appreciate Governor Hogan recognizing this reality.

But we want to ensure that our dealers in Maryland are able to follow the letter of Governor Hogan's order, while also being able to provide critical services to our customers.

If you have any questions about these recommendations, or the governor's stay-at-home order, please contact myself or Joe Koch ( Together, if we take these difficult but necessary steps, we'll ensure our employees and customers are safe, and that we can get back to business as usual once this crisis abates. Thank you, as always, for reading.

John O'Donnell
WANADA President and CEO