Forecourt operators are being advised by the Car Wash Association (CWA) that they can continue to operate automatic car washes and jet washes under the current coronavirus regulations, but hand car washing and other types of valeting have been outlawed.

The guidance comes after discussions between the CWA and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

CWA agreed with BEIS:

• Automatic Car Washes (ACW) by definition do not involve the use of forecourt staff (other than very occasional for refilling chemicals etc when the equipment is isolated), or when paying, which may also involve fuel and/or shop goods if there is no card payment facility available.

• The operation of rollover car washes requires the driver/passengers to remain seated in the car so no contact with other persons.

• The operation of jet washes involves the customer using handheld equipment, which is situated in separate covered or open bay areas, so 2m distancing is easily maintained.

• Any form of auto or manual valeting afterwards, such as use of vacuum, hand drying etc should cease due to potential distancing difficulty.

• Hand Car Washes (HCW) by definition involve significant number of persons (usually four to six per vehicle if valeting included) whether undertaken by own staff or a third party and therefore should not be undertaken on any site.

CWA chairman Brian Madderson said: “An ACW can provide much needed income during the coronavirus lockdown which will help independent petrol retailers with essential income to sustain operations.”