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New York state eased restrictions on some car washes after calls from owners and a trade association, allowing businesses to reopen as long as there is no customer-employee interaction.

External automated car washes that allow customers to pay through a phone application, an automatic kiosk, a subscription plan or a contract are now allowed.

Employees cannot accept payments from customers, according to new weekend guidelines from Empire State Development Corp. It is the state office that makes rules on essential businesses amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Additional rules for car washes include:

  • Automated car washes can only be opened between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
  • Only two employees may be allowed on site at a time, one to maintain machinery and another to keep traffic flowing and disinfect machines and kiosks. They have to wear masks.
  • Employees cannot vacuum, detail, dry or apply cleaning products to vehicles.
  • Social distancing must be respected between customers and employees.

The change comes after pressure from Tom Hoffman Jr., owner of Hoffman Car Wash, and the New York State Car Wash Association, according to the Albany Business Review. The chain operates 21 car washes in the Albany and Binghamton areas.


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