Santos Ford Manages During Covid-19


Nicole Blackwell

Mr. Blackwell and a client seal the deal with a Ford truck despite the Covid pandemic.

Noah Badillo, Staff Reporter

Santos Ford is one Los Banos’ popular car dealership and just like other businesses in 2020, it has been a bit of a bumpy road in 2020.

Many businesses, and places in general were forced to shut down because of health concerns of the Covid-19 virus. Of course many places are deemed essential, and after interviewing Mr. Jon Blackwell who is the general sales manager of Santos Ford informed me, “it was a legit debate for a while to keep car dealerships open till the president of the United States deemed it essential.” 

However, Blackwell stated that, ¨the factory plant was temporary closed for 90 days and even some stores were closed; it depended on the county.¨

Los Banos was fortunate enough that Santos Ford remained open and on the same schedule throughout 2020 with changes on safety measures on how the place operated indoors. 

Back to those 90 days in which the factory was closed, Blackwell said, ¨when the factory closed, it stopped with inventory and it effected our customer service because some car parts back ordered.¨ Those ended up becoming the hardest obstacles for the staff at Santos Ford.

Even the process of test driving vehicles changed during this time period. ¨During the corona pandemic all that is required is a copy of the driver license and insurance to let customers test drive independently wearing a mask, and when they exit the vehicle, it’s required we sanitize the inside of the car.  It used to be show proof of a driver’s license and have an employee take you for a test drive.¨ 

Several other changes occurred.  The business is required to sanitize and clean everything after being used and everyone is required to wear a mask at all times while in the building. In addition, there were several unpleasant matters for the business. ¨A smaller staff, since the pandemic; we had to let people go or some people even quit because of fear of Covid-19,¨ said Blackwell.

Even the sales changed.  “With the shortage of new cars the demand of used have increased which drove up prices,¨ said Blackwell.

It is clear Santos Ford struggled in 2020 with complications with car parts and inventory which undoubtedly had a role in the results of the sales recorded, but the business in our small town is still managing and staying open during the pandemic.