As of today, Wednesday May 13, residents will be able to again purchase vehicles as the local motor industry gets the go-ahead.

Yesterday, Tuesday, May 12, the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) announced the long-awaited directives regarding the sector. While car factories were allowed to open with half staff under level 4 lockdown restrictions, dealerships have had to wait to hear about the selling of vehicles until now.

New and used automobile dealers are finally allowed to reopen their doors as of today, with strict risk-adjusted trading measures and other regulations to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

This means the sale and purchase of trailers, motorcycles, caravans, trucks, bakkies, cars and other vehicles may recommence.

Emergency repairs for vehicles are also being allowed to recommence including overdue servicing of vehicles.

Before this announcement, arrangements for vehicle purchases could be made but buyers had to wait until the stores reopened to drive away in their new rides.

Minister Ebrahim Patel gazetted new directions on Tuesday evening. These include the allowance for trade-ins for new and used cars, wholesale trade of new and used cars, export and import of all vehicle categories, trade-in purchases, car-lease schemes and wholesale trading of used cars.

Car sales will also follow a phased approach in weeks to come starting at phase 1 with 30% of employment with majority of sales being done remotely, up to phase 2 with 60% of employment and a limited number of customers being allowed into a dealership.

Lastly, phase 3 which will be implemented from June 8 until the end of level 4 lockdown. Dealerships and car outlets will be allowed to operate at 100% employment with on-site customer contact allowed but kept minimal. Test drives will be allowed with sanitising plans and strict hygiene conditions in place. Delivery of fully sanitised cars will also be allowed.

Under the directions, all vehicle dealerships must also implement health and safety measures including the regular disinfecting of the premises, social distancing and ensuring all staff and customers are wearing cloth face masks.

Along with the news of car sales establishments being able to reopen their doors, roadworthy assessment and testing centres are also being allowed to resume business under new restrictions. Other auto repairs centre are also allowed to reopen, all under the same restrictions as car dealerships.

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