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Hertz is giving NYC health-care workers free car rentals during coronavirus epidemic

The move will help get doctors, nurses and other health-care professionals off public transit and put some of Hertz's fleet back to work.

Hertz car rental
Health-care workers in NYC can get free car rentals from Hertz during the coronavirus outbreak.
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Given the fairly constant barrage of awful stuff coming at us through the news lately, it's a bit of a relief when you see a company going out of its way to help make things better. 

That's the case with Hertz and its plan to help New York City health-care workers during the coronavirus epidemic by offering them free car rentals until the end of April, the company announced Wednesday.

See, Hertz is having a pretty bad time right now because so much of its business is tied to the travel industry, and we all know how that's going. This means that the huge fleet of rental cars that Hertz maintains is mostly sitting idle, collecting dust in lots. In fact, its fleet utilization is down to around 20% right now, Hertz CEO Kathryn Marinello told the Wall Street Journal. It usually hovers around the 80% mark. 

"It's vital that healthcare workers have safe and reliable transportation during this time, and we are eager to help," Marinello said in a statement. "The dramatic decrease in travel means we have more vehicles to serve the most critical needs of the community. We're starting in New York City with healthcare workers and we'll continue to see how we can help during this crisis. It gives all of us at Hertz a sense of purpose and pride to lend our support as much as we can during this very difficult time."

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Meanwhile, doctors and nurses -- particularly those in urban areas -- who typically take public transit or ride-hailing services to work are now trying to do everything they can not to get sick, so they can continue to work as the pandemic wears on. Having a means of transportation that helps to isolate them from the public as much as possible outside of work is a big deal right now. Marinello has also stated that the program could easily be expanded to other areas.

Hertz has been doing everything it can to get paying butts in the seats of its cars. It has gone so far as to drop its minimal rental age from 20 to 18 and even waived the young driver surcharges it typically tacks on. It's even trying to get in on the travel industry bailout that the airlines have been lobbying for.

Hertz will hope that, if it can weather the storm, people will remember the good thing it did during this global crisis, and that wins Hertz their business. If not, then helping doctors and nurses was still a pretty cool move.