The impact of the coronavirus on virtually all aspects of our business and personal lives is a constantly moving target. NJ CAR is closely monitoring all updates, especially as it relates to New Jersey businesses, including dealerships.
Governor Murphy is expected to issue an Executive Order this afternoon, which will require the closure of all non-essential businesses. In the absence of any government order to the contrary, dealers may assume that selling and servicing motor vehicles is an essential service. NJ CAR will continue to monitor the situation and follow-up with updates as more information and a final copy of the Governor’s Executive Order is made available.
Below is the latest information we have for dealers. NJ CAR will update our dealer members as information evolves or any new information becomes available.
Dealership Operations/ Franchise Obligations
Dealerships across New Jersey are faced with a decision whether to remain open to serve their customers (in-store or potentially providing concierge service for test drives and vehicle service) or to close their stores for a period of time. Each dealership will need to make that decision based on what is best for their employees, their customers and their particular situation.
Keep in mind, if you choose to close, remember you must clear that decision with your manufacturer(s) or you may be considered in breach of your franchise agreement.
NJ CAR has asked NADA to raise this issue with the OEMs and we are waiting to hear back. We will pass along any information as soon as it is received.
New Jersey State Motor Vehicle Operations
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission issued an Administrative Order (Order 2020-01) that addresses the extension of driver licenses, vehicle registrations (including temporary registrations) and vehicle inspection stickers. The expiration date will be extended until the last day of the second month after the expiration date on the license, registration or inspection sticker. (i.e. Expiration date March 31 extended to May 31; April 30 extended to June 30; May 31 extended to July 31).
The NJMVC has closed all its local agencies but, as of right now, Motor Vehicle Central Office in Trenton remains open.
NJ CAR Motor Vehicle & Headquarters Operations
As of right now, the NJ CAR Motor Vehicle Operations remain open and the courier will continue to pick up and drop off motor vehicle work. Dealers are still able to issue eTemps and process work online. If anything changes, we will let you know immediately.
NJ CAR Academy
As of right now, the Motor Vehicle Title Clerk Certification class, scheduled for March 23-25, 2020 has been canceled. We will reach out to registrants regarding a re-scheduled date, once it has been determined.
NJ CAR has also postponed the April 16, 2020 Office Manager/ Controller Workshop.
A decision on classes scheduled for late April and beyond will be reviewed in the coming weeks.
Federal/ State Support For Businesses
- National Emergency Declaration. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency, that gives him authority to use $40 billion allocated by Congress to address the crisis.
- Small Business Loans. The Small Business Administration will work directly with state governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue.
- Additional Federal Legislation. The U.S. House of Representatives and the Trump Administration have negotiated a stimulus package that would address increased child-care, paid sick leave, increased SNAP, extended unemployment benefits, free Coronavirus testing, protecting health care workers, strengthening Medicaid, and no price gouging. It is unclear whether the legislation will address a payroll tax cut or suspension, as President Trump has proposed, or targeted relief for certain affected industries. The House passed a bill on Saturday that will be considered by the Senate.
- The Federal Reserve has cut interest rates to zero and is buying hundreds of billions of dollars in bonds, as part of a sweeping emergency effort to breathe life into an economy bracing for the fallout from the coronavirus. The central bank said it expects to keep rates at zero “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”
- Unemployment Insurance Flexibility. The U.S. Department of Labor announced new guidance outlining flexibilities that states will have in administering their unemployment insurance (UI) programs to assist employees affected by the outbreak. The guidance is available to read here.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has a helpful FAQ page regarding available resources and actions taken to date to assist the business community during this crisis.
The State is also considering a series of legislative and administrative actions to help provide economic relief to businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The Assembly is meeting today, but the Senate is not scheduled to meet until March 23rd. Some of the public and private sector actions being considered include:
- Sales Tax Holiday for the months of May and June
- Deferred property tax payments for 45-60 days and Deferral of Sales Tax payments for February and March
- Work in Person Waivers
- Small Business Sales Tax Remittance Reduction
- Permit and Rule-making Extensions
- Business Credit for Quarantined Worker
- Temporary Extension of Unemployment Benefits
Insurance Issues (Business Interruption)
This is an unusual situation, however, most insurance policies do not typically provide business interruption coverage/loss of income for a situation such as this. Please contact your broker/carrier for a coverage determination.
Federal and state governments have created the following informational materials related to the impact this outbreak is having on businesses and personnel:
The law firm of Genova Burns also published an alert that addresses many questions dealers may have about how to prepare for the impact of the Coronavirus. The alert touches on how the Americans With Disabilities Act, Family And Medical Leave Act and Paid Sick Leave law apply to the quickly evolving situation.
You can access the Genova Burns Alert HERE.
Genova Burns has also published an alert regarding the OSHA issues related to COVID-19, which can be accessed HERE
Please understand that these materials do not (and cannot) serve as a substitute for obtaining legal counsel to address specific personnel situations caused by this fast-moving outbreak. Accordingly, in response to such situations, NJ CAR recommends that you immediately contact your dealership’s attorney.
- Employers should also follow instructions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which publishes up to date guidance for employers on dealing with the spread of the virus, workplace prevention, and how employers should manage employees suspected of having the virus or other illnesses. The CDC Guidance can be accessed by clicking here.
Employers should also follow instructions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), which publishes up to date guidance for employers on dealing with the spread of the virus, workplace prevention, and how employers should manage employees suspected of having the virus or other illnesses. The CDC Guidance can be accessed by clicking here.