The coronavirus that delivers the illness known as COVID-19 is affecting all parts of the automotive industry. For Toyota specifically, the outbreak has caused concern about the manufacturing and supply chain in Japan, and it's also put a spotlight on a dealership in Washington state. An employee at Toyota of Kirkland, in Seattle's Eastside suburbs, tested positive for the virus this week, according to the Kirkland Reporter. The dealership is closed until Monday, March 9, for cleaning.
Toyota of Kirkland is only 2.5 miles from the Life Care Center nursing home, where 10 residents have died from the virus and many more are ill.
ToK took to Facebook to address the issue. In the post, the dealership said it learned on the evening of March 3 that one of its employees had tested positive for the virus. It did not specify, however, any details about how long the employee has had the virus, how often the employee has been at work, or what role this person had at the dealership. For some reason, the dealership remained open for at least another day, according to Automotive News, a decision that prompted plenty of upset comments from customers on social media.
Toyota of Kirkland alerted its employees on the morning of Wednesday, March 4, and got in contact with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidelines on how to handle the situation. In addition to closing shop until Monday, the dealership will be deep-cleaned and disinfected. The janitorial services are adding nightly cleaning, and food and beverage services in the waiting areas have been cut off. Furthermore, the valet drivers and technicians will now use a new set of gloves for every customer vehicle, and gloves will be available to anybody.
Toyota of Kirkland has also asked any employees with virus-like symptoms to self-quarantine and remain so for at least 14 days. For more information about the coronavirus and how to handle the outbreak, visit CDC.gov.