Steering Clear: Avoiding COVID-19 in the bodyshop

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— As the coronavirus continues to grip the globe, bodyshops across North America are taking extra precautions to avoid the highly contagious virus.

As the number of people infected with the virus increases, all businesses are adding precautions to their list of daily duties.

Step one in avoiding COVID-19⁠ should come naturally to most—more frequent handwashing and sanitization. According to a recent survey conducted by Collision Repair, more than 80 percent of shops have introduced new handwashing procedures to do their part in combatting COVID-19.

Feeling queasy? Quarantine! If any of your employees show flu-like symptoms⁠—such as a nasty cough, fever or severe headache⁠—you shouldn’t wait for things to get worse. Send them home with strict instructions to rest and recuperate.

Another simple precaution suggested by business owners is wearing gloves when inspecting customer vehicles. As one owner pointed out, people tend to be far more comfortable sneezing and coughing in the comfort of their own vehicles⁠—therefore, techs should be extra careful and wear protection when opening door handles, touching steering wheels or checking mileage during the estimation process.

And, if business does start to lag, consider some compromises. Several shops are combatting slow business amid the virus by offering customers the option of interacting with estimators via video chat or take photos of vehicle damage themselves.

There is still a lot of uncertainty when it comes down to how the ongoing pandemic could affect business in the bodyshop. With China’s automotive hub of Wuhan shut down for over a month, parts delays are pending. Several sources say contingency plans are in effect for industries that use Chinese suppliers⁠—and the list is extensive.

According to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, members are already experiencing supply chain disruptions. Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturer’s Association, says his organization is now exploring alternative plans for sourcing parts.

“We’ve tipped into our contingency planning⁠—where can you re-source? ” said Volpe.

Ferrari has shut down two of its Italian factories has the country battles the outbreak. The company had expected to continue production through the week⁠—albeit at a much slower rate⁠—though ultimately was forced to close due to parts shortages.

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