COVID-19 Updates

This page was last updated on August 14, 2020 at 4:47 PM. 

Latest Updates

As the world continues to navigate the challenges of COVID-19, there is one thing we have consistently seen at Merchants Fleet—there are essential businesses, products, and services that must keep moving to keep our people safe & healthy.

Working together, our fleet experts have identified the following tips and resources to help drivers stay safe and healthy while they are on the road.

As the COVID-19 situation is rapidly changing and developing, some of the information on this page may be subject to change or may not apply to your region. The following sources are where you can get the latest COVID-19 data and recommendations both nationally and for your state:

If you have questions, please contact us, and know Merchants Fleet is here for you.

Supplier Updates

Below is a list of actions our suppliers have taken in response to COVID-19. Merchants updates this list daily, so please check back regularly for updates. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to your Client Development Manager.

  • Because exact maintenance location hours remain fluid and changes vary between regions, we recommend drivers call repair facilities to confirm hours.
  • Drivers should be aware that maintenance locations may implement face covering requirements and other safety protocols in response to the ongoing pandemic. Please check with your maintenance locations for the latest protocols.
    • As of July 30, all 2,200 company-owned Firestone Complete Auto Care, Tires Plus, Hibdon Tires Plus, and Wheel Works stores require all customers to wear a face covering while inside the store. Stores will have disposable face coverings available for those customers who don’t have a face covering with them at the time of service. All stores are continuing to practice social distancing, utilize hand sanitizer throughout the store, wear masks and disposable gloves, and answer health screening questions and have temperatures checked before starting work each day.
    • 3,200 Bridgestone Affiliated Retailer locations are also following similar social distancing and other CDC guidelines.

Many dealerships have reopened. Out of stock vehicle inventory is extremely low. We continue to monitor closely.

  • FCA re-opened all plants.
  • Ford re-opened all plants.
  • General Motors re-opened all plants.
  • VW shipments of fleet courtesy deliveries resumed effective May 11 and all U.S. ports are open.

All major upfitters are at work and are reporting no significant backlogs.

  • Most DMVs are not yet back up to pre-Covid processing times. Several still have extensions in place as they work through back logs, and processing times in many states are quite lengthy. Please refer to our list of State DMV statuses and extensions for details.
  • Some states are rolling back their re-openings.  We will continue to monitor and send out updates when any significant changes occur.
  • Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there are many precautions that need to be followed to ensure the safety of our clients and drivers. When possible, please complete the below steps when turning in a vehicle and avoid personal contact among all parties:
    • Coordinate a pickup location near a road or highway in the event the vehicle is in a small neighborhood or area
    • Remove all personal items from the vehicle
    • Determine where the keys will be left to prevent personal contact with drivers
    • Clean the car in accordance with CDC guidelines prior to pickup
  • All ADESA auctions continue to follow CDC/PHAC guidelines on social distancing as well as any government-mandated public health and safety requirements. They have also provided the following operations updates:
    • Dealers are permitted on site for pre-scheduled buyer vehicle previews where offered
    • Commercial sellers are permitted on-site during posted hours (check with local auction for hours and availability)
    • Redemptions are available by appointment only
    • PSIs are available at all locations
    • Vehicles may be released at all locations with pre-printed or digital gate pass
    • All locations can receive and send titles/ownerships via mail and dropbox
  • In an external communication, IAA reinforced they have been deemed an essential business and all 200+ facilities and auctions are operating on schedule.  Their auction model has been digital since 2004.
  • Manheim has an updated list of auction status updates here.

There is no impact to fleet drivers regarding tolls at this time. All Merchants clients on toll management are by default covered by their transponder and/or plate number.

  • TSOA advised the current average for pick-ups is 8-10 business days, an increase from the normal 5-7 days, due to fewer drivers being on the road. Drivers are taking precautions to ensure they and the people they come into contact with remain safe. TSOA is in contact with Merchants account managers to let them know the status of moves, and they are making us aware of any potential delays as they happen.
  • PARS remains operational with all office staff telecommuting. They continue to realize growing transportation delays as the list of states ordering all workers in non-essential businesses to stay home continues to expand. Individual move delays or service issues are being communicated to clients accordingly.
  • RPM has moved to a remote workforce with limited capabilities. Additional time should be expected to secure capacity on New York and California loads.

Drivers will most likely be required to secure their own transportation to the destination of their choice as service providers are observing social distancing measures and will be unable to provide a ride. Our partner is working on adding call scripting for their call queue to outline this.

Geotab is experiencing low inventory on IOX cables, a supplemental add-on used with ELD solutions to charge in-vehicle tablets/devices. This can lead to longer than normal lead times. Merchants will be communicating with impacted clients. This will not block our ability to ship and install devices.

Fleet & Driver Resources

If you’re part of an essential business, our team is available for you working from safe locations to offer some tips. Check out the following resources so you can stay safe and healthy. Please check back as we will continue to update our library.

Infographic: Getting Back on the Road Checklist

here are a lot of factors to consider as your fleet either gets back on the road or continues to adapt to current realities. Here is a checklist to help you prioritize and organize which actions to take.

Download Infographic

Infographic: Maintenance Tips During COVID-19

As some states extend stay-at-home orders, it’s important for fleets to know how to handle maintenance safely. Here are some tips for keeping your vehicle in good shape while exercising precautions.

Download Infographic

COVID-19 Driver Safety Tips

For essential drivers who are still working, vehicle maintenance is important to staying on the road safely. Here are some tips for managing maintenance during the current pandemic.

Watch Video

Keep Your Business Moving: Fleet Strategies

This 30-minute webinar tackles flexible strategies you can use to increase cash flow, scale new business lines, and maintain your company culture.

Watch Webinar

The Tough Times Playbook: A CEO’s Guide to Navigating Through Crisis

Leading during a time of crisis can be challenging. Our CEO Brendan P. Keegan shares his Tough Times Playbook on our blog.

Read More

Strategies to Keep Your Business Moving

Learn about the different options Merchants Fleet has available to keep your essential business on the road during the pandemic.
Download Infographic

Tips for Drivers During COVID-19: Staying in the Know

When you are out in the field, having the right information helps you stay safe and up-to-date on protocols. Here are some ways to stay in the know so you are prepared.

Watch Video

How Fleet Management Companies are Addressing COVID-19

FMCs recently weighed in about how things have changed in the wake of COVID-19 and actions fleets can take. Click here to read the Automotive Fleet article and see what our SVP of Sales & Consluting Tom Coffey had to say: Go to the article.

How COVID-19 has Impacted FMC Operations

“In addition to trying to be as communicative as possible with our clients, we’re letting them know proactively of all the capabilities that we have to offer at this time that could be applicable to their needs, including temporary lease vehicles, disposing of surplus or unneeded vehicles, and even potentially monetizing vehicles that are owned through sale and leaseback transactions,” said SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey. Go to the article.

The Impact of COVID-19 on Fleet Partners

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted multiple aspects of the fleet industry. SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey talked to Automotive Fleet about what Merchants has been seeing. Go to the article.

Advice for Fleets During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted how people perform their work duties. SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey weighed in with some advice for fleets in a recent article by Automotive Fleet.Go to the article.

Fleet Policies & Procedures to Minimize COVID-19 Contagion

Last week Automotive Fleet held an informative webinar discussing fleet policies and protocols for COVID-19 featuring our SVP of Sales & Consulting Tom Coffey. If you didn’t have a chance to attend, you can view it on demand here.

COVID-19 Driver Safety Tips

If you’re a driver in the field for an essential business, we hope you stay safe and well. Here are some tips to protect yourself.

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COVID-19 Driver Safety Tips

Keep yourself safe, healthy, and on the move with these tips from our client services team. To stay on top of the latest COVID-19 information and health tips, visit the CDC’s website.

Watch Video

COVID-19 Vehicle Cleaning Tips

A clean car is an important step to reducing your risk while on the road, especially if you transport passengers. Our client services team shares advice on how to make sure your vehicle is sanitary for every shift. For more cleaning guidance, check the CDC’s website for the latest COVID-19 related recommendations.

Watch Video

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