Should you stay open? Delivering vehicles; furloughing: Your questions answered

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The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a huge number of restrictions on daily life, and it’s become difficult to know what is and isn’t allowed. But as part of the IMI’s support to its members we want to bring clarity to the industry and those that work in it, so we’ve put three of your most important questions to our Head of Human Resources and Business Support, Sally-Anne Hodder.

During the outbreak many businesses are staying open, should I?

“The Government has not required any garage or MOT station businesses to close – indeed it’s important for them to carry on as maintaining vehicles for essential staff will be paramount.

“So, if you do decide to keep your business open and some staff are unable to work from home, you should ensure your onsite team are able to follow Public Health England guidelines including, where possible, maintaining a 2 metre distance from others and washing their hands regularly.

“Of course, we understand that this can be difficult time for businesses to remain financially viable with the reduction in business, which may mean you have no choice other than to close. If this is the case we’ve drawn up a list of Government support that is available to help you navigate through these extraordinary times”

Collecting and delivering vehicles is continuing in my role, should I still be doing this and what can I do to minimise risk?

“While garages have been designated as businesses that are exempt from closure, they still must exercise the proper precautions for their employees, part of the advice is to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from others.  Therefore, if you are still required to collect and deliver a vehicle, the usual practice of two individuals travelling in the same car as part of this process, is not maintaining a 2 metre distance. We would urge you to speak to your employer and together find an alternative way of doing this to keep you as safe as possible.  If you are finding this difficult you can contact Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) who can offer support in how to approach your employer.”

Furloughing staff seems to be 'the' new phrase, but what is it and how could it affect me?

“As part of its measures to support people and businesses through the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has introduced a temporary Job Retention Scheme to support businesses to temporarily lay off, or place on ‘furlough’ status, some or all of their employees.

“Up to 80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus Employer National Insurance Contributions and minimum auto-enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage can be claimed from the HMRC’s online portal, which is expected to be available at the end of April 2020.  This scheme is intended to keep people earning and enable businesses to reduce costs or close, temporarily, and to bounce back quickly once we are through the pandemic.”

The IMI will continue to help our members in whatever way we can and we’ll continue to keep you updated on the support available and how to access it. If you have any questions that you need answering or want to discuss the IMI’s plans, please contact us on +44 (0)1992 519025, send emails to, or drop us a message on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.

And for all the latest updates and for government-specific information head to our dedicated website:

Look after yourselves and your families, and do let us know if the IMI can help you.

With our very best wishes