Dear brothers and sisters in the auto care industry,
For those of you who travel, you know there is nothing more frustrating than waiting at your gate while your flight is delayed with no information from either the gate attendant or flight crew. It is always welcomed when you are told, “Here is what I know,” regardless of the circumstances.
That situation could not be more true than with our current circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 virus. Information often changes hourly and the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) are collaborating to provide up-to-date information as it becomes available. This is also a time for the entire industry to further collaborate for the betterment of us all. We are providing real-time updates through our respective websites but would like to let all of you know that we are working together on your behalf at the local, state and federal levels.
So, what do we know at this point? The Department of Homeland Security identified our industry as an essential service in its Memorandum On Identification Of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response. “Employees who repair and maintain vehicles, aircraft, rail equipment, marine vessels, and the equipment and infrastructure that enables operations that encompass movement of cargo and passengers.” Suppliers have also been identified by Homeland Security as “critical manufacturing.”
While this is good news for the aftermarket, this is a guideline and states may also implement their own definitions of “essential services.”
This week, we sent a joint letter to the president urging the White House to enforce a “consistent national policy” to keep the auto care industry open. In addition, MEMA and the Auto Care Association joined a coalition that penned letters urging the nation’s governors to also declare our entire supply chain as essential.
As you may have read, the Senate has come to a bipartisan $2-trillion deal to address the economic hardships that have been caused by the coronavirus. The Senate Majority Leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has released a summary of the agreement as it currently stands which you can find here. The Senate has approved the legislation and the House is expected to sign off on Friday. We will provide more details on implementation as they become available.
[Editor’s Note: The House passed the bill and President Trump signed it on March 27].
We are communicating with other associations around the globe to learn and teach best practices.
We also know that what makes our industry great is the 4.7 million people that work every day to keep the nearly 280 million light cars and trucks on the road. Now more than ever, it is critical for us to do this to ensure that vital goods and services are able to be delivered and performed.
We are both thankful for the opportunity to serve you and wish you peace and good health in these trying times.
Bill Hanvey, President and CEO
Auto Care Association
Paul McCarthy, President
Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association