The UK remains in a lockdown situation due to the Covid-19 virus, with no signs of the restrictions being lifted in the near future. If you are not classed as a key (or critical) worker, and furloughed or working from home, you will be using your car (or other vehicles) less frequently than in the past. The government has mandated that the only reason for non-critical workers (roughly 78% of the population) to drive is for ‘essential’ purposes. Essential purposes are defined as: shopping for groceries (as infrequently as possible), providing care and support to vulnerable people (delivering groceries and medicines), short journeys to take exercise, or for personal medical reasons (prescriptions, appointments etc.) We are in an unprecedented situation, and although the lockdown is causing all kinds of financial, emotional and health problems for many UK citizens, on the whole we are complying with the rules.
In order to protect vehicle owners and garage workers from unnecessary contact that may spread the virus, the government has helpfully extended the time limit for MOTs by 6 months – if your MOT is due shortly, you will be able to take advantage of the extension. There is a caveat however – you must keep your vehicle in a roadworthy condition in order to use it for those essential journeys, or you risk receiving a fine or other penalty such as points on your licence. Unless you are a dedicated do-it-yourself type of car owner, the good news is that many garages, all the major breakdown recovery services and the majority of myWindscreen network members are still available to deliver essential vehicle services, even under these constrained circumstances.
myWindscreen is still here to help
If you have developed a problem with your windscreen, or a side or rear window has been damaged during a collision or a break-in, you can call upon a member of the myWindscreen network of vehicle glass repair and replacement experts to help you out. However, there are a few provisos.
Essential work only
The work must be ‘essential’ – this means it is required in order to keep a vehicle roadworthy in order to be available for essential travel (as defined by the UK government, i.e. shopping, medical etc.), or to be available for key workers to travel to and from their work. Key workers include people involved in sectors such as the NHS, social care, pharmacies, emergency services (fire, police), food (production, delivery and distribution) and supermarkets.
Essential work includes replacing a shattered or otherwise damaged windscreen where not to do so would mean the vehicle could not be legally driven on the road. Sadly, this does not include windscreen chip repair, unless the chip in some way invalidates the vehicle’s safety. Replacing side and rear windows is allowed, if the security of the vehicle would otherwise be compromised. Cosmetic work such as window tinting is not covered by the term ‘essential’ and will have to be postponed until the lockdown ends.
Social distancing and hygiene
Social distancing and enhanced hygiene rules must be maintained. This can be difficult under some circumstances, and if it is not possible for the repair technician to complete the work safely, then the job cannot be done at the present time.
What will our technicians do?
Thoroughly clean their hands before beginning work, and put on a new pair of disposable gloves. After completion, they will safely dispose of the gloves, and clean their hands again.
Keep at least 2 metres away from you at all times, and not accept any drinks or other refreshments that may be offered.
Not ask you to sign anything, or physically touch any mobile devices to confirm job completion.
What will we ask you to do?
Most importantly, tell us if you are self-isolating because you have had symptoms of Covid-19, or contact with someone else who has had the symptoms. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to hold over the work until after your quarantine period has elapsed.
Keep at least 2 metres away from the technician’s work area, and don’t offer drinks or refreshments (always a kind gesture, but they will have to be refused).
Pay for the work by contactless card, by phone, or online where appropriate.
Safety and welfare
The safety and welfare or our technicians and our customers are equally important to us, and all our network members are committed to providing a safe, high-quality though limited range of services. We will be able to go back to a full range of services as soon as it is safe to do so, and the government restrictions are relaxed.
A final thought – there are positives to be found in any situation, however grave things may appear. Firstly, during the lockdown, there is roughly 50% less traffic on the roads, so the chances of a vehicle to vehicle collision (and glass damage) have reduced along with the traffic. Secondly, myWindscreen technicians can get to and from jobs without the usual traffic hold-ups, so waiting times for essential repairs are currently as low as they have ever been. Finally, although it feels as though life may never be quite the same again, the current crisis will end.
Keep up to date with the latest government information on the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic.