The novel coronavirus that has swept the world since first emerging in Wuhan, China, last year has caused shutdowns and economic lockdowns the likes of which have never been seen before. To help in such difficult and trying times, The AA is providing free roadside assistance to all front-line healthcare workers as well as older drivers – whether or not they are members. In what is likely to be one among many acts of kindness and charity in the nation, the AA wants to make sure that no one on the roads has to worry about getting the help they need even while nearly everything else is shut down.
The roadside assistance service is known as AA Rescue. Motorists that find themselves stranded can contact the agency at the following number: 01 617 905. This number is a priority line for stranded healthcare workers and elderly motorists especially set up by the AA for this program.
AA Director of Consumer Affairs Conor Faughnan said in a statement, “Our AA Rescue patrols are still attending to a high number of breakdowns every day from people who must travel for essential work or for food shopping. We will continue to offer support to our existing AA Members, but we want to ensure that those on the front lines of fighting this virus and those most at risk are being looked after…Wherever possible we would strongly encourage everyone to adhere to the Government’s advice and avoid non-essential travel. Doing this will help our efforts in assisting those who must now be our priority.”
And the challenges facing Ireland’s businesses and motorists aren’t foreign to the AA. The company has had to change many of its front-facing operations to accommodate the new conditions being placed upon firms by the novel coronavirus outbreak. This includes performing routine operations, such as insurance renewal, online.
Or, Faughnan explains, “Valid motor insurance is a legal requirement for motorists so we must keep the lights on, but we are doing so in line with HSE guidance…Many of our agents are working from home and serving our customers via online web chat, while a small number continue to attend the office to take calls from elderly customers who may not be able to renew online.”
While governments around the world grapple with when to reopen and jumpstart their economies is largely dependent on a myriad of factors. Given that, the AA will likely continue this program through the duration and somewhat beyond until everything is somewhat under control.
Many countries in Europe, in particular, are eager to return to normal life but the uncertainties around the virus have made planning this difficult if not impossible at the current time. Of course, there are also those that are holding out hope for a quick vaccine program or an aggressive testing as well as a tracking-and-tracing program but, until then, the economy in Ireland and beyond will largely be operating on standby. Luckily for Irish motorists that are on the front battling this disease, the AA is on standby for them if they are needed.