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Touchless car wash off limits in pandemic

Owner in North East questions closure
Posted at 4:10 PM, Apr 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 17:22:19-04

NORTH EAST, Md. — No, they didn’t have their lights flashing and sirens blaring when Maryland State Police shut down the Super Shine Car Wash 12 days ago, but their order to close still caught Owner Mark Lintner by surprise.

“Our customers that come to our site use the autos,” said Lintner. “They sit in their car, pad the kiosk, they don’t leave their car and they don’t mingle with any personnel at all.”

But that doesn’t account for coming into contact with key pads or vacuum handles where the coronavirus may lay in wait, just like at the gas station across the street.

The car wash represents Lintner’s income in retirement, and he’s has had to lay off one employee, while keeping his manager on just two hours per day.

“Me and the wife just… I don’t know… struggle,” said Manager Ken Perry, Sr. “I’m trying to get unemployment, but I haven’t heard anything from them.”

Adding to the frustration is a handful of car washes, which appear to still be open just down Pulaski Highway in Aberdeen and Edgewood.

For the record, state police say under the Homeland Security and Governor’s Office guidelines, the only car washes allowed right now are for food service and medical vehicles.

That means the Super Shine Car Wash and others like it must remain closed even though its owner says the order is arbitrary at best.

“I have a problem with that, because he left the liquor stores open and other businesses---laundry mats and drycleaners and all that, and I don’t think it’s fair to us,” said Lintner.

So far the owner says he’s had no luck trying to tap into federal relief money as he continues to access his savings to get by.