Are car washes open?

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England is about to enter the second week of Lockdown 2.0, with a month’s worth of restrictions in place to stem the spread of coronavirus. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lockdown measures which began on November 5. Non-essential stores and businesses have had to close and Britons have been told to stay home and only travel if absolutely necessary.

The second lockdown will last until at least December 2, with the Government aiming for a significant decrease in infection rates.

Currently across the UK deaths from coronavirus have reached more than 50,000, while cases have topped more than 1.3 million.

A tiered system was introduced before Mr Johnson announced a nationwide lockdown would instead be implemented to drive down infections and alleviate strain on the NHS.

Travel in England is restricted, with Britons only allowed to leave home for essential reasons.

Read More: Christmas cancelled? Expert warns numbers are not dropping fast enough

Essential reasons to leave home include

  • travelling to work where you cannot work from home
  • travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  • to visit those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • to buy goods or services from premises that are open, including essential retail
  • to spend time or exercise outdoors – this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of a pet, or veterinary services

But are car washes open?

There has been much debate around what constitutes an essential business in recent weeks and some have been confused about what will remain open.

Mixed rulings over car washes have triggered confusion among some.

The Government’s guidance says car washes are on the list of businesses which must close, however petrol stations can remain open.

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Car washes which are part of a petrol station can stay open.

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA) and Car Wash Association (CWA) have sought clarity on the topic.

Brian Madderson chairman of the PVA, issued a statement saying: “I am immensely pleased to announce that the Government confirmed with us that, in England, car washes which are part of a petrol station would be able to remain open as there is no requirement for an open business to close off parts of their business.

“While we are pleased with this outcome, the CWA will continue with its robust lobbying, as Automated Car Washes (ACW) that are not connected to a petrol station have not yet been granted an exemption to remain open.”

“We are working to ensure that these ACWs are not discriminated against in this, and any potential further, lockdown.”

Driving lessons in England are suspended, as are both theory and driving tests.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) will contact those impacted and give guidance for what to do next.

Lessons and testing will be able to resume on December 2.

Lockdown is pencilled to end on December 2, as long as infection rates have been brought down and the strain on the NHS eased.

Then the country will be put back into the three-tiered system it was in before.

The areas with the highest levels of COVID-19 cases will be in Tier 3, followed by a medium level Tier 2 and the lowest restriction level of Tier 1.

As with before the second lockdown, these tiers can change at a moments notice, dependent on the R-rate. 

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