Can I still hire a car in the new UK during Covid-19 Plan B restrictions? (archive)

  • This web page is now obsolete because Covid-19 restrictions have now ended. This page has been left live for historic research to inform how the pandemic affected ever day life for UK citizens.

While travel is severely curtailed, we ask can you still hire a car in the UK as Covid-19 continues to spread?

Here is the information you need to hire a vehicle in lockdown. 

Can I hire a car in tier 4 Covid-19 areas?Can I still hire a car in the January lockdown Covid-19 areas? (Credit: Photo by Norma Mortenson from Pexels)

Can vehicle hire businesses stay open in lockdown?

Official government advice on businesses that can remain open during lockdown states that car hire firms can remain open. 
The advice is a follows:
  • Petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes,
    vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and
    vehicle hire businesses

Is it safe to hire a car in the Covid-19 pandemic?

If you rent from a reputable provider, the business will have information on the company website giving an overview of cleaning actions undertaken before passing the vehicle onto a new customer.

What areas of a hire car should I clean myself?

Most hire car companies will have given each car a deep clean before passing on to another lockdown customer, but you may want to use a suitable wipe to wipe down the following areas of high risk:
  • Key and key fob
  • Centre console
  • Cupholders and compartments
  • Dashboard
  • Instrument panels and buttons
  • Steering wheel
  • Door interiors and pockets
  • Door handles - both inside and out
  • Mirrors
Please note - only use suitable cleaning materials as you will be charged for any damage that is caused by using corrosive or unsuitable cleaning materials on the car.

What are the travel rules for using a hire car during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Government advice on travel - which will apply to drivers hiring a vehicle are as follows: 

There are guidelines for travelling in taxis and private hire vehicles.

When car sharing, you should only travel in groups of no more than 6 people, or 2 households, unless you are travelling for a reason that is exempt.

You can protect yourself and those you are sharing a car with by:

  • sharing the car with the same people each time and, where possible, only with members of your household or support bubble
  • minimising the group size at any one time
  • opening windows for ventilation
  • travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • facing away from each other
  • considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
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