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Are car washes open during the UK coronavirus lockdown?


CAR washes have been affected as a result of the lockdown introduced by the Government to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Some have managed to remain open, but only if they can follow guidelines.

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 Some car washes have been able to remain open in the coronavirus lockdown - provided they follow PHE guidelines on social distancing

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Some car washes have been able to remain open in the coronavirus lockdown – provided they follow PHE guidelines on social distancingCredit: Rex Features

Are car washes open?

Automated car washes have remained opened as they do not require any man power.

In emails seen by Daily Express, a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  (BEIS) confirmed that car washes can remain open only if they comply with social distancing guidelines set out by Public Health England.

The emails also said that car washes can be shut down in cases where they do not comply with the guidelines.

The email stated: “Provided that social distancing can be practised, all car washes can remain open.”

According to Forecourt Trader, The Car Wash Association agreed with the BEIS that automatic car washes could remain open due to the following criteria:

  • Automatic Car Washes (ACW) by definition do not involve the use of forecourt staff (other than very occasional for refilling chemicals etc when the equipment is isolated), or when paying, which may also involve fuel and/or shop goods if there is no card payment facility available.
  • The operation of rollover car washes requires the driver/passengers to remain seated in the car so no contact with other persons.
  • The operation of jet washes involves the customer using handheld equipment, which is situated in separate covered or open bay areas, so 2m distancing is easily maintained.
  • Any form of auto or manual valeting afterwards, such as use of vacuum, hand drying etc should cease due to potential distancing difficulty.
  • Hand Car Washes (HCW) by definition involve significant number of persons (usually four to six per vehicle if valeting included) whether undertaken by own staff or a third party and therefore should not be undertaken on any site.

However some local authorities decided to close down car washes to protect their staff and customers.

You can check with your local authority and car washes to confirm if they are opened.

Hand car washes were closed as non-essential in the first phase of lockdown, but Boris Johnson’s roadmap to restore the country back to normal said Brits who cannot work from home can go back to work.

How does social distancing work?

According to guidelines published by Public Health England, all individuals who are not members of the same household should keep a gap of two metres between them at all times.

If hand car washes are to reopen then they will need to observe social distancing by assigning one worker to an area of the veheicle.

Workers should also follow hygiene measures such as regular hand washing.

To avoid contact between staff and customers contactless payment may be brought in, plus the use of gloves for handing over of keys.

It is likely that hand car washes will not provide a full valet service of interiors to avoid contact.

According to PHE: “Where working from home is not possible, workplaces should make every reasonable effort to comply with the social distancing guidelines set out by the government (keeping people 2m apart wherever possible).”

It adds: “Where the social distancing guidelines cannot be followed in full, in relation to a particular activity, businesses should consider whether that activity needs to continue for the business to operate, and, if so, take all the mitigating actions possible to reduce the risk of transmission between their staff.”

 Under PHE guidelines, staff members must maintain social distancing guidelines to protect themselves from coronavirus

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Under PHE guidelines, staff members must maintain social distancing guidelines to protect themselves from coronavirusCredit: Alamy

When will they reopen?

For car washes which have chosen to stay closed during the pandemic, it is a matter for individual owners to determine when they will reopen.

You should check with your local car wash before heading out.

If your local car wash is not open you can follow our guide on how to wash your car at home here.





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