Impact on New York Dealership Operations of Governor Cuomo’s PAUSE Executive Order

Arent Fox
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Arent Fox

On Friday, March 20, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the “New York State on PAUSE” Executive Order (“PAUSE,” Executive Order No. 202.8: Continuing Temporary Suspension and Modification of Laws Relating to the Disaster Emergency.

PAUSE (Policies Assure Uniform Safety for Everyone) mandates that employers reduce the in-person workforce at any non-essential business by 100% effective by 8 p.m. on Sunday, March, 22. Guidance for PAUSE issued by the Governor specifies that auto repair is an excluded essential businesses not subject to the 100% reduction.

However, auto sales are not mentioned in the guidance, meaning that it is considered a non-essential service subject to 100% reduction. The PAUSE guidance further clarifies that “With respect to businesses or entities that operate or provide both essential and non-essential services, supplies, or support, only those lines and/or business operations that are necessary to support the essential services, supplies, or support are exempt from the restrictions.”

Businesses can request excluded services to be designated as essential by filing a request with the Empire State Development Corporation (a hotlink is included in the PAUSE Guidance URL below). Amongst the points outlined in the Governor’s announcement of PAUSE, the following are specifically applicable to the operation of essential automobile repair operations:

  1. Any concentration of individuals outside their home must be limited to workers providing essential services and social distancing should be practiced;
  2. When in public individuals must practice social distancing of at least six feet from others;
  3. Businesses and entities that provide other essential services must implement rules that help facilitate social distancing of at least six feet;
  4. Sick individuals should not leave their home unless to receive medical care and only after a telehealth visit to determine if leaving the home is in the best interest of their health;
  5. Use precautionary sanitizer practices such as using isopropyl alcohol wipes.

Governor Cuomo has stated that mandatory closures and civil penalties will be enforced against businesses not complying with PAUSE. New York’s Attorney General Letitia James has urged employees to file complaints against employers who violate the Governor’s official directives, including PAUSE.

For further information see here and here.

PAUSE Guidance can be found here.

The New York AG’s comments, reproduced in a legislative update sent out by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association on March 21, can be found here.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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