No restart directions – driving instructors
SOME driving schools told they can reopen as lockdown is eased are holding off booking clients as they wait for operating guidance from the States.
Details of the fourth phase of lockdown are outlined on the States’ website. It said businesses unable to operate fully or under social distancing restrictions in the second and third phases will be permitted to operate under increased hygiene requirements.
Gyms, hairdressers, beauticians, restaurants and public venues were some of the industries mentioned specifically. But driving instructors feel they have been left in the dark.
Driving School of Motoring owner Dave Sheppard said the support from the States while schools were closed was great, but wished guidance on resuming lessons safely had been provided sooner.
‘Other businesses like hairdressers were told a while ago they could re-open, but driving schools have heard nothing.
‘I’ve called the States two or three times because I’ve had students calling up asking when they can get back to lessons, but I’ve had to hold off on giving them any information because I’ve been told the States are still putting the guidance and information together.’
Mr Sheppard said that being given the information he needs at the press conference today would not give him enough time to get his business ready.
Cleaning the car in between lessons with sanitisation wipes is possible, but concerns remain around being so close to someone else in the car.
‘It’s impossible to be two metres away in the car, we’re practically shoulder to shoulder and with the air conditioning going in the heat, any germs are just recycled through the car,’ he said.
‘If the States have deemed it not safe for driving tests to go ahead yet because of a lack of social distancing, how is it safe for me and other instructors to go back to work?’
Nick Dorey, owner of Cann Driving School, is another waiting for guidance before lessons start up again. ‘I’m not likely going to be able to start back up straightaway, I’ve been thinking by mid-June I’d have everything sorted to carry out lessons safely,’ he said.
‘I will definitely be calling clients ahead of the lesson to make sure they are not in the slightest bit ill or have been around someone who is unwell.
‘Then, before they get in the car I’ll wipe down the steering wheel, indicators, handbrake, gear stick, mirror and anything else they might touch so they are happy and then I will wipe down everything again once they leave the car.
Mr Dorey said the situation for instructors was all a bit up in the air still because the States have not yet provided them with clear guidance on what they can and cannot do.
‘We’re private businesses so, while a lot is up to us as owners, we want to comply with Public Health advice for the safety of everyone involved.’