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Pa. residents can’t buy cars right now: Here’s how lawmakers are trying to change that

Ohio and West Virginia residents are still able to buy a car right now, so why can’t Pennsylvanians?

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It has to do with what the state deemed essential, and lawmakers are doing their part to get the industry back up. There is a push to reopen car dealerships across the state.

A bill working its way through the general assembly would reclassify dealerships as essential businesses.

Right now in Pennsylvania, if you need to get your car fixed you can do so because that is deemed essential by the governor. What’s not is if you need a car.

Some people are finding themselves crossing state lines to do so, and lawmakers in our state told Channel 11 that shouldn’t be happening.

State Rep. Natalie Mihalek (R) said it makes sense to allow car dealerships to be deemed essential, as many of the first responders we rely on can’t always rely on a working vehicle.

“We have a nurse, there was an accident with her vehicle and we need to replace it. We have another person that they were driving a rental car because their car was totaled prior to this happening, and now they’re paying every day for a rental because they can’t buy a car here,” Mihalek said.

On Monday, Mihalek’s proposal of House Bill 2388 passed on a party-line vote. Senate Bill 613, which was just presented Tuesday, also addresses some of those issues.

“That bill would actually open up industries that are able and willing to make accommodations based on the CDC as well as CESA guidelines,” she said.

The main issue, according to auto experts, is Pennsylvania requiring a “wet” signature -- which means that another person has to witness it. Gary Flannery, executive manager of the Washington Auto Mall, told Channel 11 they have already come up with ways to make things work.

“There’s no place that says we’re not allowed to do it through glass. There’s no place that says we have to be within two feet of the customer, we could do that from 10 feet away," Flanner said. "We’re resourceful enough to come up with ways to maintain social distancing but still get the job done and keep the customers happy.”

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