Texas car dealerships say they’re not to blame for COVID-19 increase

by SpeedLux
San Antonio, Texas

Car dealerships in San Antonio, Texas, are defending themselves after city leaders claimed they’re partially to blame for the recent increase in COVID-19.

“This is coming from the hospital officials themselves,” stated Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a televised coronavirus briefing. “We’ve been told that what they’re seeing in their conversations with the COVID patients are bars, gyms, and strangely enough car dealerships.”

Bill Day, the owner of North Star Dodge, is disappointed over the blame.

“I gotta say my initial reaction was disheartening, disappointed,” Day said. “Very disappointed considering city officials not understanding how sensitive is to make irresponsible or reckless comments without having or showing us a metric or a measuring stick or how they came to that conclusion.”

In a text message, Nirenberg’s chief of staff described that the Mayor’s answer was anecdotal and based on what details from officials at hospitals and Metro Health contact tracers. He also gave a statement from the Mayor: “All businesses should use the safety protocols put forward by health officials. They should use best practices including temperature checks, masks, physical distancing, and sanititzing surfaces.”

But Day said his business on San Pedro never closed its doors during the coronavirus crisis, and so far only one worker has tested positive for COVID-19.

“So I got to believe that we have done the right thing from day one,” said Day.

In a statement April Ancira, the vice president of Ancira Auto Group, also expressed frustration over the blame:

“Since March Ancira has enforced the rule that all workers wear masks and we have even provided FREE masks to our customers that came in. So the new mask ordinance didn’t even change anything for us. We have spent thousands on cleaning equipment and have taken social distancing as well as customer and worker safety seriously. As for the comment made recently regarding the safety of car dealerships in general, we were ALL a bit shocked. With so many stores in San Antonio still able to report ZERO cases we were unclear why the blanket statement was made. The San Antonio Auto Dealers will be issuing a formal statement on Monday or Tuesday in reply to the comments made by the Mayor.”

Like Ancria’s business, Day said that masks are essential and staff will even offer them to customers.

“We definitely provide a mask for them if they don’t have one,” Day said.

He fears the statement made by city leaders could result in a big setback in business.

“To overcome some of these issues and spike is to retract the statement, and definitely say that maybe the comment was a little off or however you’d like to say it, but retract it,” Day stated. “Then let’s get to work. And let’s have a round table and let’s talk about best practices and how we do beat this thing and how we’re all on the same page.”

So far, over 108,000 have been confirmed to have been infected with coronavirus in Texas, with 67,096 of them recovered. The virus has killed 2,165 people in the state.

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