Vehicle rental association the BVRLA has highlighted that rental branches across the UK are remaining open to provide road transport to ensure key workers are mobile and essential services maintained during the Covid-19 pandemic.

BVRLA rental members operate 1,800 outlets across the UK, including 647 airport and train station branches in a combined fleet of 371,000 cars, vans and trucks.

The organisation claims the UK vehicle rental industry is an integral part of the supply chain and operating model for many businesses across the logistics sector, including the NHS, police, social care, local and central government, with the capability to supply vehicles at short notice. 

“Around half of all vehicle rental transactions are with businesses supporting the transportation of people and goods,” said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.

“In these challenging times, vehicle rental is focused on its most important customers.

“Right now, our members are providing cars to police forces, district nurses and Ministry of Defence sites; vans to plumbers and gas engineers; refrigerated lorries to food distributors and minibuses to schools with special educational needs.”

The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has announced that following its consultation with the Department for Transport (DfT) the government has confirmed vehicle workshops can stay open during the Covid-19 outbreak.

On Sunday 22 March, the NFDA sent a letter to Grant Shapps, secretary of state for the DfT, to highlight the association’s concerns with workshops opening during the outbreak.

On 23 March, the government stepped up measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Guidance from the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government states that retail and public premises expected to remain open must: ensure a distance of two metres between customers and shop assistants and let people enter the shop only in small groups to ensure spaces are not crowded.

Garages are included in the list of ‘exceptions’ in the retail sector that can stay open. Also included are supermarkets, health shops, pharmacies, petrol stations and vehicle rental centres.

Sue Robinson, NFDA director, said: “Aftersales workshops and their technicians will play an important role in ensuring that critical vehicles can continue to operate safely and efficiently during these challenging times.”