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March 20, 2019—The Automotive Service Association (ASA) is looking out for the automotive service repair industry during this time. The association has two main priorities right now.

  • Make sure automotive repair shops are classified as “Essential Businesses,” which would allow them to stay open 
  • Include shop owners as part of any federal small business stimulus packages 

In order to make this happen, ASA is calling on shop owners to reach out to their local, state and federal governments to ensure their voices are heard and that the industry is helped out in any way possible. 

“The majority lets the minority do most of the work,” Bob Redding, ASA’s Washington representative, says. “All shops need to be engaged here.” 

Otherwise, you may find yourself with a letter calling for your business to shut down in some communities. 

ASA is calling on shop owners to reach out to their local officials to ensure that they remain categorized as an essential business. The form is quick to fill out and you can make a major difference, Redding says. 

ASA is also advocating on behalf of independent shop owners to make sure that they are included in any small business stimulus package. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is working with state governors to make sure that small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19 have assistance. The SBA has updated the criteria for obtaining disaster assistance loans, which says that “disaster assistance loans will be available statewide following an economic injury declaration. This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.”

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Right now, a third stimulus package, which Redding says he believes will be “very beneficial” to independent shop owners that are suffering losses due to the virus, is being looked at and may be passed within the next few days (Ratchet+Wrench will continue to monitor the situation and update).

“The package is very favorable to our members that have suffered losses.” Redding says. 

Redding strongly advises that shop owners keep an eye on the federal stimulus efforts in the next few days, as it could help during this trying time.

To stress the importance of getting involved, Redding brings up “Cash for Clunkers,” a program that was introduced during the recession, several years ago, that encouraged people to sell their older vehicles to the federal government. This program hurt independent repair shop owners, as there were less older vehicles to maintain and more vehicles under warranty replacing them. Redding says he could see a similar program emerging from this, and he says it’s up to everyone in the aftermarket to make sure that it doesn’t. 

“It’s critically important to keep up with what’s going on,” Redding says. “Make sure the government knows you exist so you can stay open.” 

For updates, head to ASA’s Taking the Hill website.

Here are some additional resources: 

Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response: /ext/resources/CISA-Guidance-on-Essential-Critical-Infrastructure-Workers-1-20-508c.pdf

Essential Services Letter: /ext/resources/Letter-to-Governor.pdf

Letter to Governor: /ext/resources/Letter-to-Governor1.pdf

 

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