Is it safe to rent a car? Hertz, rivals enhance cleaning process to eliminate coronavirus

Is it safe to rent a car? Hertz, rivals enhance cleaning process to eliminate coronavirus

As travel begins to pick up again after the coronavirus shut much of it down, car-rental companies are eager to assure customers that they're getting a clean car.

On Friday, Hertz unveiled its 15-step process for cleaning and disinfecting car interiors and exteriors. Vehicles that go through the process will be certified and sealed as "Gold Standard Clean."

"Sealing each vehicle is a first-of-its-kind practice in the car rental industry and one we believe will give customers added peace of mind knowing they are the only person to enter the vehicle after it's been thoroughly cleaned and sanitized," said Hertz President and CEO Kathryn Marinello in a statement.

The cleaning process follows U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, according to Hertz.

Contact surfaces such as steering wheels and door handles will be cleaned with a disinfectant that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use against the coronavirus.

Naples businessman David Hoffmann and the Hoffmann Family of Cos., which bought the Everblades hockey team and the Hertz Arena in August, agreed to allow Hertz to store its idle rental cars on the arena grounds a few weeks ago. It's yet another sign of the devastating blow the tourism industry has taken from the pandemic locally, nationally and globally, due to travel bans and other restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Hertz is rolling out the new cleaning process at its U.S. locations and plans to expand it to other countries.

Rival Enterprise has a similar process it calls the "Complete Clean Pledge." Enterprise focuses on 20 high-touch points in each vehicle and has measures to isolate and quarantine a vehicle if required.

Avis Budget and Dollar Thrifty have enhanced their cleaning procedures as well.

Car rental companies are also cleaning and disinfecting shuttle buses and counters at pick-up and drop-off locations. Employees follow social-distancing guidelines and are encouraged to wash their hands frequently.

Hertz, based in Estero, Florida, said last month in a federal regulatory filing that it planned to lay off 10,000 workers in North America as a result of the coronavirus.


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