Click and collect services will once again top car retailers’ sales agenda after Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that England would be follow Scotland into a new national lockdown last night.
And new grants are being made available to help keep closed retailers afloat.
Government’s gov.uk website confirmed this morning (December 5) that dealerships and auctions have once again been classed among a number of non-essential retail locations – including clothing and homeware stores – which must now rely on click and collect operations to continue to sell products.
While garden centres once again continue to welcome customers alongside supermarkets and builders' merchants, car showrooms must once again close their doors, the guidence suggests.
Aftersales operations will be allowed to proceed during the latest lockdown, which gets underway today and will remain in place until at least February 15, however.
Scotland’s renewed national lockdown, announced by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, will remain in place until at least the end of January, meanwhile.
Northern Ireland's coronavirus mitigation measures will be discussed this afternoon, AM understands, after First Minister Arlene Foster issued a "stay at home" order yesterday.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, who extended the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) to March 31 back in November, has this morning announced a further £4.6 billion package of support measures for businesses.
This package includes grants for closed retail, hospitality and leisure businesses of up to £9,000 per property, plus business rates relief and the furlough scheme have now been extended until the end of April.
"This will help businesses to get through the months ahead - and crucially it will help sustain jobs, so workers can be ready to return when they are able to reopen," said Sunak.
In his televised national address last night, the Prime Minister said: “As I speak to you tonight, our hospitals are under more pressure from COVID than at any time since the start of the pandemic.
“In England alone, the number of COVID patients in hospitals has increased by nearly a third in the last week, to almost 27,000.
“That number is 40% higher than the first peak in April.
“On 29 December, more than 80,000 people tested positive for COVID across the UK – a new record.
“The number of deaths is up by 20% over the last week and will sadly rise further. My thoughts are with all those who have lost loved ones.
“With most of the country already under extreme measures, it is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out.”