Car dealerships to stay open during 'stay-at-home' order

Car dealerships and body shops say they will remain open during "stay-at-home" order. (WTHR Photo/Mary Milz)

INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) – Car dealerships along 96th Street were still open for business Tuesday, with many planning to be open Wednesday as well after Governor Holcomb's "stay-at-home" order takes effect.

That includes all Ray Skillman dealerships across central Indiana.

"We were expecting sales to be closed down tomorrow but the governor considers us an essential business," Bill Skillman said.

Bill Skillman. (WTHR Photo/Mary Milz)

Skillman said that means both the body shop where they have hourly workers, and showroom where the sales people work on commission.

"You may have a break down, or you may be a first responder or doctor whose motor goes out and you need a new car or need to have yours serviced," Skillman said.

With that being said, they'll be working limited hours, using social distancing and keeping everything wiped down and sanitized. They're also promoting online sales and home delivery.

"We as company with 1,100 employees (across nearly a dozen locations) feel we need to keep our people working," Skillman said. "And if they are working we need to keep them in a safe environment."

Skillman said while coming to work is "totally voluntary," those who stay home won't be paid but they can be laid off if they want to file for unemployment.

Andy Mohr who also owns several dealerships across central Indiana said they too will "be open in every department."

"It's for our employees and customers," Mohr said.

What he and Skillman can't say is how many people will actually be out shopping for a new car while most everyone is being told to stay home through April 6.

"A lot is still up in the air," Mohr said. "But we can be there to help (our customers) out."