A GROUP of Somerset garages have re-opened in a bid to help people having to use their cars during the coronavirus crisis.

Halfords Autocentres has re-opened its garages, which includes those at Taunton and Yeovil, with comprehensive measures to protect customers and colleagues, including social distancing measures and a range of PPE.

Garages are deemed an essential service provider, and the Yeovil garage re-opened on April 27, to help those who require their vehicles for essential journeys.

It comes after the Government recently introduced a temporary MOT exemption, but warned that vehicles must still be kept in a roadworthy condition.

Garages still remain open for essential repair work, while drivers can face prosecution if they’re caught driving an unsafe vehicle. Customers can book online on - at Halfords.com/mot - or call their local branch.

Measures introduced at the garage include the introduction of a zero-contact policy, while the team have stopped taking cash payments and use plastic wrap on steering wheels and gear levers on every repair and service job.

Other new safety measures include:

• Only allowing one customer per time to enter the reception area

• Clear two metre social distancing measures

• Leaving keys on the reception desk to be picked up by a colleague

• Only accepting card payments

• Allowing at least five minutes of ventilation before moving cars into service area

• Using plastic wrap on steering wheels and gear levers on every repair and service job

• In some instances prioritising work on emergency vehicles

Andy Randall, MD of Halfords Autocentres, said: “I am really proud of our colleagues and how they are supporting us in our commitment to playing our part in keeping the UK moving for their essential journeys.

"However, we will only continue to play our role if we can ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers, and compliance with government policy.

"That’s why we have re-shaped how our Autocentres operate and we look forward to welcoming customers."