ALERT: Md. Dealerships are Open, and it's Vital to Keep Safety First

Dear WANADA Members,

The State of Maryland's Office of Legal Counsel has issued guidance on Gov. Larry Hogan's executive order, and, under Section I, line b,  car and truck dealerships are explicitly allowed to remain open to the general public, at least for the time being.

We are pleased that the state has recognized, accurately, that automotive retailers provide an essential service to the community and should be able to continue supporting the public during this crisis. 

With that said, please note that this legal interpretation could be modified or rescinded at any time. That means it is incumbent on all of our dealers to create an extremely safe and supportive environment for customers and employees alike, so we don't give the state a reason to further restrict dealership operations. 

We urge you to certainly heed the state's guidance in that legal interpretation, and "limit in-store interactions where practicable," while, at absolute minimum, taking great care to adhere to the state's social distancing guidelines, Gov. Hogan's standing prohibition on gatherings of 10 people or more, and the CDC's recommendations for workplace safety.

Beyond that, you likely have employees who are concerned about continuing to come to work during this crisis, and particularly in a job where they have to interact with the public and oftentimes share close spaces with them. We urge with you to do everything you can to create a work environment where your staff members -- particularly those who live with or care for elderly family members or those who are immuno-compromised -- can continue to do their jobs and remain employed while limiting their potential exposure to the virus when at all possible. 

We strongly believe that Gov. Hogan has given our members a tremendous gift of being able to continue selling cars to the public, while he has shuttered many other retail businesses. So we implore you to manage your stores knowing that you have been given a gift, and one that could easily be revoked if anyone creates an impression that we're not prioritizing the safety of our employees and our customers above all else.   

Please reach out to me or Joe Koch ( at any time with questions you may have, regarding this state policy or any others. And please continue referring to WANADA's COVID-19 information page as a repository for dealer-related information pertaining to this crisis. Thank you for your hard work and diligence during this unprecedented situation.

John O'Donnell
WANADA President and CEO