WASHINGTON—Top executives of six tire, auto parts and auto service associations—including the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association—have written state and local government leaders, urging them to designate the motor vehicle maintenance, repair and service industry as an "essential service."
In the time of shelter-in-place orders during the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local government leaders must devote critical resources to ensuring the safe continuing operations of the nation's transportation sector, the association executives said in their March 18 letter.
"As our nation enacts emergency measures to protect Americans from the spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, USTMA and our industry partners urge government leaders to consider the critical role that motor vehicle supply and repair facilities play in protecting the safe and efficient operation of the entire transportation sector," Anne Forristall Luke, USTMA president and CEO, said in a press release.
Other signatories of the letter besides the USTMA were the American Trucking Associations, the Auto Care Association, the Automotive Oil Change Association, the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Tire Industry Association.
The six associations directed their letter to the National Governors Association, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the National League of Cities and the National Association of Counties.
"Essential tasks rely on safe and efficient transportation," the letter stated. "Government vehicle fleets (local, state and federal) and other essential personnel (doctors, nurses, health care provides, grocers, etc.) depend on businesses that support the safe operation of the transportation sector."
Those essential personnel should be assured they need not worry about flat tires or vehicle breakdowns, the associations said.
"State and local policies (should) take into account the important role of motor vehicle supply and repair facilities and ensure these essential businesses remain available to support the work of other crucial businesses," they said.