Governor's COVID-19 response order trumps local orders—regular vehicle sales are not essential


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We and others have mentioned various competing “stay at home” orders conflict with each other, e.g., State, County and City of Los Angeles, as applied to car sales and whether car sales are considered “essential” thereunder. With guidance issued by the Governor’s office today, it is now clear that the Governor’s order is the applicable order. While competing local orders control if they are stricter than the state order, in the case of vehicle sales, the county order is less strict than the state order in that it permits vehicle sales and the state order does not specifically include vehicle sales as essential. Thus, dealers in the County of Los Angeles and in Sacramento who had “less strict” local orders that expressly permitted car sales, must be sure they are instead following the Governor’s “stay at home” order, which does not specify vehicle sales as essential. Read the FAQ.

Thus, we recommend that if you are one of these dealers, you immediately consider whether to cease regular sales operations while the “stay at home” order is in effect. The CNCDA has issued guidance today stating that it believes that vehicle sales in emergency situations are justifiable and aligned to the spirit of the Governor’s order, suggesting it may be permissible to maintain someone at the dealership with a sales license to be available to handle such sales. We’ve received a lot of questions about offsite deliveries. If you conduct offsite deliveries during this period, please be sure to follow the law concerning offsite deliveries, generally, in addition to the new requirements issued by the state and federal government concerning social-distancing, and take other precautions to protect both your employee and customer. Regardless, under the Governor’s order vehicle service and parts departments may remain open for business.

Please call us if you need further guidance on any of the above.