Hand car washes could lead to ‘second wave’ of coronavirus as sites fail to follow rules

Hand car washes could lead to ‘second wave’ of coronavirus as sites fail to follow rules


Car wash chiefs say sites were likely failing to comply with regulations as car washes as workers have been spotted mingling without protective equipment. Images sent to Express.co.uk by a local Dover motorist have shown workers cleaning the inside of a vehicle with no protective gear while workers failed to keep at least 2m distance. 


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CWA chief, Brian Madderson, says the “prospect” of hand car washes complying to strict coronavirus regulations on social distancing was “almost impossible”.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Madderson said: “How stupid that the second wave of coronavirus is channeled through these thousands of hand car washes which [are] allowed to open.”

Images sent to Express.co.uk showed workers at a hand car wash in Dover, Kent failing to abide by safety regulations. 

Staff were seen standing next to one another and having a conversation with customers as their cars were cleaned. 

The photographs show at least six cars parked in the tiny forecourt as staff battled for room. 

Staff were seen entering a customer’s passenger interior while two other cleaners were tidying the boot of a vehicle.

When asked by Express.co.uk if this was a danger to the health of motorists, the CWA chairman confirmed it was “absolutely” a cause for concern. 

The government has allowed both automated and hand car washes to open as long as strict guidelines are met. 

Advice given to businesses is that staff must maintain two metre social distancing at all times and follow Public Health England requirements for protecting themselves at work. 

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This includes guidance to avoid sharing workstations or using screens or barriers to separate people if a 2m gap cannot be maintained. 

However, earlier this year the office for labour market enforcement found car washes to be “endemically non-compliant”. 

The group found several concerns with how hand car washes operated including environmental worries as well  as tax and labour issues.  

Mr Madderson says these premises were “unlikely” to follow the new coronavirus regulations if old rules were already being ignored. 


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He told Express.co.uk: “The prospect of these hand car washes being compliant with the covid regulations as stipulated by BEIS (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), in conjunction with the Ministry for Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) is almost unlikely and almost impossible. 

He added: “What on earth is the government doing letting these open when they won’t abide by the regulation. It’s scary. 

“Here we are two weeks down the line since I wrote to Alok Sharma and the best bit I’ve got out of BEIS is how they’ve decided it’s not their responsibility, it’s MHCLG’s. I’ve had no reply from Robert Jenrick’s (Secretary of State) department at all.”

The CWA chairman claimed many hand car washes had never closed during lockdown as many relied on cash-in-hand incomes. 

Automated car washes have also been opened with firms taking serious precautions to avoid risk to customers. 

Leading car wash service IMO and ARC have confirmed they will stay open during the crisis with basic trading hours. 

However, drivers will need to keep their vehicle windows closed at all times to reduce physical contact. 

Motorists will need to pay for services through contactless payments to reduce the need for contact. 

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