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Coronavirus lockdown: garages and car rental agencies can stay open

Date: 24 March 2020   |   Author: Illya Verpraet

From today, 24 March, the Government have introduced sweeping measures to ensure everyone who can stays at home to slow the spread of the infection.

People should only leave the house to shop for basic necessities, for one form or exercise, for medical needs, and to travel to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

The Government has therefore issued a list of businesses that need to close, which can be viewed here. Among them are all retail businesses including auction houses and car showrooms, but excluding garages and car rentals.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said in a BBC interview: "Garages can remain open, and that's both for essential maintenance of cars and making sure that they're safe on the road ., but again, I would urge people to urge exercise self-control and people should not be out and about unless they need to be for their work."

Gerry Keaney, chief executive of the rental and leasing association BVRLA said: "Many people think of vehicle rental as the car that they pick up from an airport on their annual holiday. In reality, around half of all vehicle rental transactions are with businesses supporting the transportation of people and goods. 

"In these challenging times, vehicle rental is focussed 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."

Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commented: "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".