Coronavirus lockdown easing: what does it mean for motorists?

New measures to get the economy moving have been announced by the Prime Minister. Here’s what they mean for motorists and car buyers...

Nissan showroom

The Government has confirmed that all non-essential retail outlets, including car showrooms, will be allowed to reopen in phases from 1 June as long as they meet new Covid-19 safety and security guidelines.

Detailed guidance for car dealers has also been drawn up, after consultation with those in the industry, aimed at enabling showrooms to be among the first batch of businesses that are able to reopen.

Measures they must have in place include introducing cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures, ensuring staff and customers can maintain a two-metre distance, and where this is not possible, introducing other measures to manage the risk of transmission of the virus.  

Businesses must carry out a risk assessment with the Health and Safety Executive before they are allowed to open, and they must display an official certificate confirming that they have complied with the Government's guidance on managing the risk of Covid-19.

Can you buy a car? 

Online car buying

It is still possible to buy a car from a trader and take delivery of it without visiting a showroom. The Government confirmed in April that dealers can sell cars remotely and arrange contactless delivery as long as they abide by social distancing guidelines, while What Car?'s new car buying service can help you secure a discount without having to haggle

How can you refuel your car safely? 

People are being encouraged to avoid public transport to get to work and to either drive, cycle or walk where possible. Those in England are also permitted to leave home more than once a day for exercise and drive to destinations other than shops for essential supplies.

Peugeot 5008 at petrol station

This means we will need to visit fuel stations again. To stay safe while refuelling, always wear gloves when handling fuel pumps and use contactless payment methods. Find out more in our guide to refuelling during the Covid-19 pandemic

Can you get your car serviced? 

Garages were deemed essential businesses and were not told to shut in March when the UK’s coronavirus lockdown started, but many of them decided to close anyway to protect the public and their staff, while those that did stay open prioritised key workers.

However, now that restrictions on people going to work have been eased, many garages and dealer service departments are introducing measures so that they can get back to work. 

These changes are likely to include contactless car and key drop off procedures, strict car cleaning and interior protection measures to prevent the spread of the virus, and telephone consultations and payments so there is no need for face-to-face contact.  

What if your car’s MOT has expired? 

MOT test centre sign

If your car’s MOT expired on or after 30 March 2020, you don’t have to worry about getting a new test certificate for it at present. The Government issued a six-month extension for all MOTs due after this date, so if your MOT ran out on 17 April, it will now not be due until mid-October. However, if it ran out before 30 March you will need to get it retested. 

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Read more: all the latest coronavirus advice for drivers >>