The Victorian Government has stated a desire to get COVID-safe businesses up and running as soon as possible. However, the Australian Car Wash Association (ACWA) is concerned that this is not the case.
ACWA has made multiple submissions to Ministers with portfolio responsibilities impacted by COVID-19 and, we take this opportunity to acknowledge Minister Martin Pakula for his concern for our crisis.
However, we have been unable to gain traction amongst decision-makers. We are seeking a simple and rational change to Melbourne’s Stage 4 Restrictions that will allow our industry to survive the pandemic.
The car wash industry is significant. Across the country, more than 3,000 car wash sites have an economic impact of $527m and employ over 5,000 people. And Victoria leads the country, with more wash locations than any other state. Sadly, this may not remain the case without your help.
Our industry in Melbourne and regional Victoria, is safer than almost any other permitted business activity. Yet, regulators appear prepared to stand by and senselessly watch as car wash businesses, their families, and thousands of workers go to the wall.
Victoria’s car wash operators are set to become collateral damage in the war against coronavirus and, it does not have to be this way.
Commercial car washing meets all Government key criteria for an industry sector which can be safely opened for business.
Car Washing has an Extraordinarily Low Impact on Community Movement.
Data shows it is rarely something an individual specifically leaves home to purchase. Indeed, most car wash customers buy the product whilst engaged in another activity; on the way to or from permitted work, filling their car with petrol or on the way to the supermarket for food.
Commercial Car Washing is COVID Safe.
Washing at a commercial car wash is an extremely low-risk activity for the Victorian public. Particularly our automated drive-through services where drivers do not even have to leave their vehicles.
- Automatic car washes provide a “click and collect” service. Customers remain in the safety of their vehicle and have no human contact.
- Self-serve bays are wide enough to surround a vehicle, and tiled walls separate customers at all times.
- Soap and detergent are the natural enemies of the COVID-19 virus, and these products are those upon which a car wash is built.
Car Washing is Necessary
Most car maintenance experts recommend washing your car once a week to prevent contaminants from damaging the car’s paint and finish.
Some vehicles if not cleaned for the duration of the Stage 4 lockdown, will be permanently damaged. Bugs and bird droppings are not just an unsightly inconvenience; they are acidic and cause lasting damage to vehicle paintwork.
For many, there is no alternative to using a commercial car wash to protect their asset. Victorian EPA regulations make it illegal to wash your car in a driveway or on the street.
Car Washing Contributes to Community Safety
At a minimum, drivers need to keep windows and headlights clean to ensure their safety.
Car washing is entirely consistent with Health Authority reminders to reduce the spread of the COVID virus by frequently washing hands and disinfecting surfaces.
The Car Wash Industry in Melbourne, as well as regional Victoria, is unnecessarily haemorrhaging from the State’s COVID-19 Restrictions. We repeat, it does not have to be this way.
COVID-19 restrictions have placed car wash businesses, their families, and thousands of workers under financial stress from which some may never recover.
They can safely open and should be able to do so.
The Victorian Car Wash Industry is pleading for help before it is too late. ACWA is calling on the Government to deliver a sensible restart to the car wash industry.