Why Are Car Dealerships Closed On Sunday – Car dealers can be busy almost every day of the week, especially on Saturdays, when consumers usually have the day off. Although people also have Sundays, they may not be able to buy cars on that day due to restrictive laws. Why are car dealerships closed on Sundays?
A centuries-old law prohibits car sales and general sales on Sundays. All can be traced back to the blue law that existed before the separation of church and state. While many states have repealed the law, some still follow it.
Why Are Car Dealerships Closed On Sunday
Blue laws are laws that prohibit certain businesses from conducting sales and other activities on Sundays. Laws in the 18th century were associated with religious norms that required people to attend religious services. These norms are associated with the Sabbath, a religious practice that includes a day of worship and rest, and Sunday is the designated day for many people.
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Originally, almost all businesses could not open on Sundays. Activities such as buying, selling, traveling, sports and other public entertainment are prohibited.
Since the separation of church and state, many countries have abolished the blue law. However, there are some states that still ban car sales on Sundays and pass their own version of the blue law. There are also states that have restrictions on Sunday car sales, such as a specific time when car sales can be completed.
There are currently 13 states that prohibit car dealers from selling vehicles on Sundays: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. There are seven states that have laws restricting Sunday car sales, including limiting car sales in certain counties or limiting sales at certain times. These states are Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Texas, and Utah.
New hotspot: Sunday afternoon at a (closed) #Tesla store full of customers. pic.twitter.com/1UP1zyk9MN — Michael Szego (@mszego) September 14, 2015
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Dealers can have their own reasons for closing, related to banking, employment and operating costs. Since banks are closed on Sundays, it is more difficult for dealers to process car loans and transactions. Sales staff also tend to work long hours, especially since many stores are open six days a week and Sundays may be the only days they can fly.
Some dealerships are closed on Sundays because employee turnover increases if they have to work a seven-day schedule. Sunday closures also allow retailers to save on operating costs, for example by turning off lights or closing showrooms. If the dealership operates 24/7, the electricity and other utility bills will be higher.
While most counties in New Jersey have repealed the blue law, there is one county that still has it in place: Bergen. The last county election to repeal the law was held in 1993, but ended with the law still in place. Ironically, Bergen County is home to five major shopping centers in the US, and some are the largest shopping centers in the country. As a result, traffic is less congested on Sundays, but quite heavy on other days. When Minnesota’s 159-year ban on Sunday liquor sales ended in 2017, many heralded the change as the death knell for the state’s historic “blue law.” – which he sees as a relic of another era that has no place in modern life.
But the liquor ban isn’t the state’s last blue law. This difference applies to car dealerships, which are still prohibited from opening on Sundays. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.
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Blue laws used to be common in Minnesota and across the country. The prohibition of spirits, which has existed since becoming a state, is one of the rules aimed at keeping Sunday as a day of worship and rest. But public support for the legislation is waning.
John Chase of Richfield noticed that the car dealership next to where he works in Bloomington was closed on Sunday. He asked Curious Minnesota, the Star Tribune’s reader-driven news project, to explain why the law exists.
“I saw people looking at the house next door [on Sunday],” he said. “He had the day off, he was looking for a car, and the car dealership was closed. Buying a car is a big process, and today he could have done it, but he didn’t.”
Minnesota is one of only 13 states that bans Sunday car sales. This includes all neighboring states except South Dakota. Four other states have partial restrictions. Violation punishable by misdemeanor in Minnesota. The ban applies only to licensed car dealers; does not apply to sales between private parties.
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So why does the ban remain? The short answer is that no one is forcing the rules to change.
Minnesota car dealers and employees support the law, according to the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association (MADA), which represents the state’s car dealer industry.
MADA has been advocating for a Sunday ban for decades. Its president, Scott Lambert, declined an interview request for this story. But a fact sheet on the MADA website — which appears to be about 14 years old — makes an economic and social case for the law.
“The main reason for the statute is to ensure national uniformity in the sale of motor vehicles by dealers,” he said. “It is also implemented to give car dealers a day, an advantage in the industry and a way to attract and employ quality employees.”
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They claimed that adding Sunday hours would increase overhead costs by millions of dollars without increasing sales. He also mentioned union opposition to Sunday hours.
The report shows the car dealer’s hours last Monday through Saturday, often into the evening. He noted that manufacturer support is generally not available on Sundays, financing may be limited and buyers may not be able to register their cars.
The bill landed on Governor Orville Freeman’s desk in April 1957 when it passed the legislature that spring. Opponents are few but fierce, arguing that the bill has nothing to do with rest or religion.
Minneapolis and St. Paul at that time had an ordinance prohibiting Sunday car sales. Suburban and rural vendors were not bound by such rules, and downtown vendors saw an unfair economic advantage.
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“Car dealers in the city don’t want to open on Sundays because they don’t want to pay workers more,” said Marshall Tanick, a Twin Cities attorney who defended the ban in court on behalf of Minnesota car dealers. “He has a lot of influence in the legislature and he got this bill.”
While supporters argued that the ban would “help keep the Sabbath holy,” opponents accused the bill’s supporters of using religious assumptions to solve economic problems.
Senator Gordon Rosenmeier of Little Falls told the Minneapolis Tribune that the bill was particularly favored by dealers in Minneapolis and St. Louis. Paul, “who, I am sure, do not like to worship God as in suburban competition.”
Finally, Freeman allowed the bill to become law without his signature at midnight on April 12, 1957.
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Four years later, the US Supreme Court ruled that the nationwide ban on Sunday sales was constitutional.
The 1961 decision, McGowan v. Maryland, involved seven employees of a Maryland department store who were convicted Sunday of selling prohibited items. They challenge the law. The US Supreme Court found that the Sunday ban, although religious in origin, did not violate the Constitution if its purpose was secular – to provide a day of rest.
The decision upheld Minnesota’s Sunday ban, including car sales. In essence, “the Supreme Court gave the green light to the blue law,” Tanick said.
But consumers and retailers increasingly wanted to be allowed to shop on Sunday, and the controversial new law in 1967 marked the beginning of the end of Minnesota’s Sunday sales ban.
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The state passed a law in 1967 prohibiting retail stores from selling certain items on Sundays. Within weeks, a municipal judge in Minnesota challenged the ban.
It’s a “crazy quilt” of products, Tanick says, from televisions to jewelry to paintings. Cameras are not for sale, but film is; luggage is prohibited, but purses are allowed.
Meanwhile, many municipalities still have Sunday shop closure rules. It is generally understood that when state laws fall, city ordinances fall as well.
In 1968, the Minnesota Supreme Court struck down the state law, saying the ban was vague, and retailers quickly adopted Sunday hours.
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However, the 1968 decision applied only to general retail sales. Other laws that specifically target the sale of alcohol and cars remain in effect.
In 1997, Daryl Kirt, who ran a classic car dealership in Watertown, challenged the law on religion. The concept of the Sabbath prevents them from opening on Saturday, he said, and he wants to open on Sunday. MADA joined the case as a defendant with Tanick’s representation.
The appeals court found that the Sunday ban did not prevent Kirt from exercising his religious rights and upholding the current law.
State Representative Tina Liebling, DFL-Rochester, introduced a bill in 2015 to eliminate the Sunday car ban and
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