We’re slowly starting to get a glimpse of the new normal.
With the authorities finally seeming to take control of the COVID-19 pandemic, various countries across the globe have begun loosening restrictions after nearly three months in one form of lockdown or another. Over the past three months, the entire world was gripped by the virus causing varying levels of movement restriction in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus. Inevitably, this resulted in the temporary closure of many businesses deemed as non-essentials in the fight against COVD-19. Unfortunately, part of these businesses is the motorcycle industry. With many major manufacturers and dealerships either reducing their capabilities or shutting down all together, motorcycle owners were left without much needed repair and maintenance support for their machines. Motorcycle sales inevitably also took a major hit.
For a country like the Philippines, that relies heavily on motorcycles as a primary mode of transportation, the fact that motorcycle dealerships and service centers were forced to temporarily close made it difficult for motorcycle owners to keep their machines in tip top shape. With more than 1.5 million motorcycles being sold each year, a sharp decline in sales over the past three months will undoubtedly have lasting effects on the Philippine economy. With most parts of the country being placed on lockdown or Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), movement has been severely restricted, and nearly all businesses forced to close or adopt a work from home scheme. Luckily, the government has given the green light for motorcycle dealerships and repair shops to resume operations, albeit partially, as lockdown restrictions are eased with the transition to Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). With the nation’s capital, Metro Manila, transitioning to a more relaxed version of lockdown, we can expect motorcycle sales to resume, and people who rely on motorcycles for their daily lives to finally avail of much needed service for their machines.
The government however, has mandated several guidelines in the resumption of operations of several businesses amid the transition to a more relaxed lockdown. For starters, social distancing of at least 1.5 meters will still be in place. Additionally, the government urges businesses not to act hastily in resuming operations, in order to prevent a second wave of infection. As such, we can expect around 50 percent of capacity, perhaps even less, for dealerships and service centers. Lastly, everyone is still required to wear face masks when outside the premises of their homes.
It would appear that taking measures towards preventing the spread of COVID-19 will translate to the new normal, and it could be quite a long time until we return to the way things were prior to the outbreak. Nonetheless, things are beginning to look better for the motorcycle industry, not just in the Philippines, but for the rest of the world.