Car dealerships to remain open in Ontario

Car and truck dealerships in the province of Ontario have been listed as an essential service and will remain open until further notice, according to a March 23 announcement from Ontario Premier Doug Ford.

The announcement follows an earlier one by the government to close at-risk workplaces to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Teleworking and online commerce are allowed for all businesses. The full list of essential workplaces can be found here.

The Ontario government also reminded businesses remaining physically open to put in place health and safety protocols for physical distancing and regular hand-washing to protect employees and the general public.

“While this was a difficult decision, we trust that Ontario’s business leaders will be able to promote safety while carrying out business and protecting jobs,” said Ford during a late-evening press conference.

Teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses. At-risk workplaces were ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, but to take measures (where possible) so that employees can work from home.

“Our government applauds the sacrifice and hard work of all Ontario workers and businesses, and will stand by them through this crisis,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We call on workplaces that remain open to be vigilant and to enforce the highest possible standards of cleanliness and caution as we continue the fight together against COVID-19.”

This story may be updated based on ongoing developments to the COVID-19 situation and government responses.


In Quebec, premier François Legault ordered the closing of all non-essential stores and services as of March 25 until April 12, 2020.

Under the section “Priority transportation and logistics services” on the Government of Quebec’s website, it notes that “service stations and mechanical repair of motor vehicles, trucks and specialized equipment for industries deemed essential and roadside assistance” are considered essential services.

However, employees must comply (as much as possible) with the principles of social distancing, the website notes. The site was updated on March 24.

Dealers will also need to embrace digital means to connect with consumers during this period.

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