Requiring customers to wear masks ‘easier said than done’

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Several dealership groups have put customer mask mandates in place, including Asbury Automotive Group on July 1.

“For folks who don’t want to wear a mask, we’re offering pickup and delivery services,” CEO David Hult told Automotive News. “We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from consumers that this is a place you want to shop at. They’re all wearing masks.”

Dan Clara, Asbury senior vice president of operations, said he was aware of just two occasions where customers questioned the need to wear a mask. In at least one of those instances, a mask was provided to the customer, and the issue was not pushed further.

At Sonic Automotive Inc.’s franchised dealerships and EchoPark used-only stores, customers must wear masks “where it’s mandated by the government,” said Sonic CEO David Smith.

“We’re trying to help stop the spread just like everyone else,” he said.

Other big dealership groups have held off on mandates for customers, though many try to encourage mask use. Both Group 1 Automotive Inc. and Penske Automotive Group said last week they are adhering to local and state mandates.

As of July 24, CarMax requests that customers wear masks inside all locations and noted that many of its stores are in locations where government mandates require face coverings for customers.

AutoNation Inc., the largest U.S. new-vehicle retailer, with 230 stores, instituted an employee mask policy in mid-April but does not require customers to wear masks. “We ask, we suggest, we provide, but it’s not mandatory,” CEO Mike Jackson said.

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Saurabh Shukla

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