New York Reopens Car Dealer Showrooms, With Restrictions

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SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – Car buyers can get back into dealer showrooms in some areas of central New York. Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon said Tuesday the state will allow controlled scenarios for people who want to buy a vehicle from a dealer.

Visits to any dealership will be by appointment only, and a number of safety precautions will be monitored to keep dealers and buyers safe. Everyone must wear a mask, and paperwork would be signed in open areas.

Burritt Motors in Oswego does not yet have permission from Oswego County to resume in-person auto sales. But owner Rich Burritt says it should happen soon. JASON SMITH / WRVO NEWS

McMahon said this not only helps dealers, but governments. Car and truck sales are the number one driver of sales tax for Onondaga County and the region.

“The state needs money, we need money and this is a way to loosen up a regulation in a safe way and generate revenue, because we need to pay our health department,” he said.

Madison County has joined Onondaga County in opening up showrooms so far. Rich Burritt, who owns dealerships in Oswego, expects more counties to follow suit.

“Once it’s established, most counties are a lot more likely to pick this initiative up,” Burritt said. “We’ll probably pick a county a day up.”

Burritt, who’s also president of the Syracuse Auto Dealers Association, said the pandemic has been hard on dealerships, with most losing 50-75% of their business, which also includes repair and body work.