CORONAVIRUS UPDATE: APPOINTMENT-ONLY RULE LIFTED, BUT TEST DRIVE LIMITATIONS REMAIN IN EFFECT
On June 14, 2020, the Murphy Administration issued Administrative Order 2020-15, which lifts the appointment-only limitation on showroom sales previously set forth in Administrative Order 2020-13. As a result, starting June 15, 2020, showrooms are permitted to be open for sales without requiring customers to book appointments ahead of time. However, dealers must continue to follow the health and safety requirements for retail businesses set forth in Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 122, which sets forth strict social distancing, personal protective equipment, and sanitization rules.
NJ CAR has received several inquiries regarding the status of test drives under the Governor’s most recent Order. For the reasons set forth below, NJ CAR finds that test drives are still subject to the limitations previously set forth in Administrative Order 2020-13.
By way of background, on April 27, 2020, the Murphy Administration issued Administrative Order 2020-10. When A.O. 2020-10 was issued, showrooms were still closed. After weeks of advocacy by NJ CAR, A.O. 2020-10 allowed dealerships to permit customers who ordered or purchased a vehicle online or by phone to test drive the vehicle at the time of pick-up or prior to delivery. Test drives were subject to the requirements of Executive Order 122. Customers could only test drive vehicles alone, and vehicles had to be cleaned and sanitized if the customer did not ultimately purchase the vehicle.
Then, on May 19, 2020, the Murphy Administration issued A.O. 2020-13 in response to weeks of advocacy by NJ CAR. A.O 2020-13 reopened showrooms, allowing customers to come in to look at cars by appointment only. A.O. 2020-13 made slight adjustments to the A.O. 2020-10 limitations on test drives. As a result, customers no longer had to remotely pre-order or pre-purchase a vehicle before test driving it. That is, they could set up a test-drive appointment without first ordering or purchasing the vehicle. However, A.O. 2020-13 still required customers to take test drives alone and dealers to clean and sanitize vehicles if the customer does not purchase the vehicle.
A.O. 2020-15 specifically rescinded the appointment-only requirement of A.O. 2020-13. However, A.O. 2020-15 did not rescind the test drive requirements set forth in A.O. 2020-13. Thus, the test-drive requirements from A.O. 2020-13 remain in effect.
Accordingly, customers must continue to take test drives alone, and dealers must continue to clean and sanitize vehicles if the customer does not purchase the vehicle.
NJ CAR will continue to monitor further developments in this regard and update dealers of any changes.