Dealerships can now decide if it's a good idea to re-open.

Thank your local moto-lobbyists: Powersports industry workers have now been classified as essential personnel by the US federal government. This means many dealerships and other moto-related businesses can get back to more-or-less regular working hours—if they wish to. 

The news comes as the population of the US is divided on the issue of COVID-19 quarantines. Some people believe the coronavirus pandemic requires extreme shutdown measures to avoid the spread of the disease. Others believe the situation has been blown out of proportion and want the country to return to normal conditions.  

The situation is complicated further by the fact that some businesses have been classified as essential, and allowed to remain open as long as certain social distancing protocols are followed. This varies by jurisdiction, to some extent, but automotive repair businesses were always classified as essential under the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) guidelines. 

Thanks to lobbying by powersports industry figures, CISA updated the language in its Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers. It now gives essential status to: “Workers critical to the manufacturing, distribution, sales, rental, leasing, repair, and maintenance of vehicles and other transportation equipment (including electric vehicle charging stations) and the supply chains that enable these operations to facilitate continuity of travel-related operations for essential workers.” In plainspeak, the revision means many powersports personnel are now classified as essential, along with the automotive sector. 

If they wish to, many motorcycle dealers should now be free to re-open, along with other powersports businesses. The question is, are they going to? Even before government-mandated shutdowns, many powersports businesses were making drastic changes to their businesses, shutting down storefronts and laying off staff. Along with a concern for employees’ health, many managers and owners also realized the COVID-19 pandemic was causing a major drop in dealership traffic. No matter what the federal government says, the powersports industry may still be slow to re-open if bosses, their workers, or their customers aren’t interested.