Dealership Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic
IADA has compiled the latest coronavirus-related updates into one email for you. Let Brittany Bungert know if anyone else at your dealership should be on this distribution list.

Watch for emails from IADA and NADA to receive the most up-to-date information your dealership needs to know during this public health emergency.
Essential Services
As of this writing, the governor has not amended her emergency order to include shelter-in-place provisions. Governor Reynolds' approach to date has been to close businesses that cannot safely operate in accordance with CDC guidance (e.g. hair salons and dine-in restaurants) rather than declaring which businesses are essential and which are not. IADA is working with the governor's office to ensure that dealership operations can safely continue in the event of a broader order.

In order to help make that case, dealerships should be following common sense best practices to protect the health of customers and employees during the COVID-19 crisis.

  • Limit gatherings to groups of 10 or fewer
  • Practice social distancing
  • Encourage sales by appointment and perform as many functions as possible over the phone or remotely

Paid Sick Leave & Expanded FMLA
Shelter in Place Orders in Surrounding States
Although Iowa does not have a shelter in place order, some of the states bordering Iowa do. As of this writing, the following orders are in place for Iowa border states.

Illinois: Service and parts departments are allowed to remain open, dealer retail sales are only permitted if conducted online or over the phone. Read the order.

Minnesota: A shelter-in-place order, that will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. on Friday, March 27, was announced earlier today. Read the press release about the order.

Wisconsin: Service, parts, and sales are all allowed to remain open. Read the order.

The other border states are functionally in the same status as Iowa.

IADA recommends that dealerships with essential employees residing outside of Iowa put something on dealership letterhead stating that the employee is an essential employee. The employee should keep that with them during their commute in case they are pulled over by an overzealous law enforcement officer.
Federal Legislation
IADA is closely monitoring the status of and the NADA government relations team is directly working on the federal legislation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch and your inbox for more information.
Governor Reynolds Announces Small Business Relief Program
The Iowa Small Business Relief Program will provide financial assistance to qualifying small businesses. Eligible small businesses can receive grants of up to $25,000, as well as defer sales and use or withholding taxes with panalties and interest waived.

To be eligible, a business must be experiencing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and have 2-25 employees prior to March 17, 2020.

Emergency Orders Designed to Benefit Consumers, Timely Lien Preservation Still Required
The emergency order issued by Governor Reynolds provides that 45 day temporary tags do not expire during the duration of the emergency order and also waives the requirement that title and registration applications be submitted within 30 days for the duration of the emergency order. The waiver of the 30 day titling and registration deadline was ordered by the governor so that Iowans can legally operate their motor vehicles on expired plates or without plates if the titling and registration process has not been completed. Customers who are handling their own titling and registration are not entitled to temporary tags and can legally operate for 30 days or the duration of the emergency order with no plates, provided they have a copy of the purchase agreement or bill of sale in the vehicle.

IADA is aware of no banks or funding sources that have waived the dealer/lender agreement provisions requiring that liens be timely perfected. The lien preference provisions of the US Bankruptcy Code have potentially significant consequences for failure to perfect a lien within 30 days if a customer files bankruptcy within 90 days of delivery of the vehicle. There continues to be a significant risk of recourse or charge back by funding sources if liens are not perfected within 30 days of vehicle delivery. Iowa law provides that the lien is perfected when the paperwork and payment are received by the county treasurer. Iowa county treasurers are using the date of the postmark as the delivery date when title and registration applications are mailed with payment. County treasurers are working but offices are not open to the public. IADA strongly recommends submitting title and registration applications and payment by US mail.

Bottom Line: The titling and registration waiver from Governor Reynolds does not change the federal bankruptcy provisions that require dealers to perfect liens within 30 days. Dealers need to perfect liens within 30 days of vehicle delivery or risk charge back from the funding source.
Remote Notary Guidance
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate has issued guidance on the in-person notarization requirement waiver, which permits remote notarial acts.
Iowa Small Business Administration Webinar
The Iowa Small Business Administration is hosting a webinar on Thursday, March 26 to provide an overview of assistance available for small businesses. The webinar will be held from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m..

Join the meeting online or call 202.765.1264 and enter ID# 480330157#.
Reminder: Offsite Sales
It continues to be problematic to conduct any part of a sales transaction in your customer's home. Dealerships that choose to conduct any part of the sale away from the licensed dealership location need to be familiar with the provisions of the Door-to-Door Sales Act, which includes a three-day right to unwind the deal.

If you trigger the Door-to-Door Sales Act, the deal can be unwound at the customer's option until three days after the delivery of the right to return notice.

Engaging in this sales method opens dealerships up to the risk that forgetting to deliver the notice will allow a customer to return the vehicle to the dealership and demand a full refund, regardless of how much time has passed.

IADA has already begun the discussions and process to request a suspension of the licensure rules implicated in offsite sales in the event the COVID-19 crisis has a long-term duration.
Small Business Administration Guidance
The United States Small Business Administration has put together a web page, Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources, that dealers may find helpful.
IADA Operations
IADA is continuing to operate, but doors are locked to the public and most employees are working remotely. The best way to reach an IADA employee during this time is by email or by calling their direct phone number. A staff directory is located on IADA's website.