Town hall chiefs have rejected calls that all local councils should provide free town centre parking over the festive period.
The AA is calling on council to suspend parking charges from 14 December to give the high street a boost.
It also argues that parking ticket machines are the ‘Achilles heel’ of social distancing.
Edmund King, the AA’s president, said: 'This has been made worse by ticket machines becoming more complicated by requiring vehicle registration numbers as well as credit card details. Also, queuing is often a problem as ticket machines are often located where shoppers are squeezed at car park entrances or close to toilets.'
However, the Local Government Association (LGA) said councils should be able to set parking charges that reflect local need.
Cllr David Renard, transport spokesperson for the LGA, said: 'With high streets and town centres reopening for the festive period, demand for parking spaces will be returning back to normal levels in many places. There is no one size fits all solution - as before the pandemic, councils will set charges to reflect local circumstances, including supporting high streets and town centre businesses.
'Councils will also be considering capacity and social distancing issues in their local car parks as people visit town centres.'