Founder and Managing Partner
On April 10, 2020, L.A. County issued a new order further clarifying its shelter in place order, making it clear that all non-essential in-store retail must cease. The order explicitly states remote sales of vehicles are not restricted by the order if the vehicles are delivered to a residence or Essential Business. This means that any car dealer currently offering in-store sales, even if limited to appointment only or for essential workers, must discontinue those sales. If the dealership wants to continue retail sales, it should conduct those sales remotely, being sure to follow state and federal regulations to avoid potential liability.
L.A. County’s prior orders relied on guidance from the federal government that left open the possibility that car dealers could continue to offer limited in-store sales. The County has now shut that door, as it made clear in its new order that sales of supplies to Essential Businesses may not be used as a basis to continue to offer sales to the general public from a brick-and-mortar retail facility. This new clarification matches the messages our COVID-19 Task Force has received from County officials that they want to see all dealer showrooms closed.
In addition, the amended order further clarifies that the order should not be interpreted to restrict online sales of vehicles, so long as the vehicles are delivered at a residence or Essential Business. While dealers must comply with state and federal laws in making offsite deliveries, this clarification should be seen as a green light in L.A. County to compliantly sell vehicles remotely. We therefore recommend that you work with your competent dealership attorney to develop procedures to sell vehicles remotely and deliver them offsite in a manner that complies with the law and limits liability.