Truck stop chains take cautious approach amid Covid-19 crisis

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TORONTO, Ont. – Truck stop chains are implementing a series of measures to curb the spread of Covid-19, but they say the sites will remain open to drivers.

Pilot Flying J, one of the largest operators of truck stops in North America with 900 retail and fueling points, however, stressed in a statement that its priority is to protect the safety of its employees and customers. .

But he also said his level of service would not be greatly affected during the fight against the coronavirus.

“Our showers are open and we clean every shower after every use with a degreaser, disinfectant and floor cleaner,” he said.

The company will close all self-service food counters and, in places where meals are still permitted, food contact surfaces will be cleaned with food-grade disinfectants, he said.

Late Tuesday, Flying J launched a Covid-19 resource site, where regular updates are made.

An employee at a Flying J site in Pickering, Ont., Said there had been no change in services at the site, but daily truck arrivals had declined sharply.

“Before, we received more than 200 trucks per day. Now it’s between 60 and 100, “the employee, who requested anonymity, said on Tuesday.

Travel Centers of America

TravelCenters of America, owner of TA and Petro Stopping Centers, is another US operator taking action.

The company said it was following individual state mandates for closing full-service restaurants. All refueling lanes are open and drivers can still book showers through an app, he said.

Doug Ford
Doug Ford announces a state of emergency on Tuesday.

On the road

ONroute, which operates 23 travel centers in Ontario, said on Tuesday it has decided to close all dining halls and seating until March 31, in line with Premier Doug Ford’s state of emergency declaration earlier in the day.

“The 23 travel places will remain open for take out, take out and drive-through services,” the company said in an email to Trucking Today.

The sites will also offer toilets around the clock, he added.

In announcing a state of emergency, Ford said the government was taking all possible measures to “flatten the curve” of the virus.

Petro-Canada

Petro-Canada has also taken a series of precautionary measures at its sites to ensure the safety of its staff and drivers, the company said Tuesday evening.

“These measures, including increased cleaning and disinfection procedures, aim to ensure that frequently touched surfaces are regularly and thoroughly disinfected,” he said. The company has closed driver lounges at its Petro-Pass locations.

“While the experience across the country may vary, we continue to support our guests while doing our part in prevention,” said Petro-Canada.

Husky Energy

Another key player in Canada, Husky Energy, said it is putting measures in place at all of its sites to ensure the health and safety of its staff and customers.

“We have prepared for this evolving situation.”

In doing so, Husky said, he closely follows the advice and guidelines of health authorities.

“At our truck stops and gas stations, convenience stores remain open for now and staff are following recommended social distancing guidelines,” the company said in an email Tuesday evening.

Husky stores no longer sell unpackaged food items such as pastries, soups or hot dogs and require customers to use only disposable cups.

NATSO

Earlier, the group that represents the truck stop industry in the United States confirmed that its members will remain open and continue to serve all drivers during the fight against Covid-19.

The NATSO statement came amid a debate on social media about how truckers will cope with reduced services such as toilets.

PennDOT

One jurisdiction that has closed toilets to deal with the coronavirus outbreak is Pennsylvania.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said Monday night it would close 35 rest areas it owns along the Pennsylvania toll highway.

The closure will not affect private truck stops in the state or department-owned parking spots, he said.

PennDOT has since announced it will reopen 13 rest areas on Thursday. Portable toilets will be available at these locations, he said.

OOIDA

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was quick to criticize the closures, saying rest areas are vitally important to truckers, including its 160,000 members.

“We call on the United States Department of Transportation to provide direction to states, law enforcement agencies and the logistics community to avoid imposing policies that endanger the safety of American truckers,” said the group in a letter to Jim Mullen, the acting administrator of the federal government. Motor carrier safety administration.

US trucker Jamie Hagen said he noticed little change in truck stops in North Dakota and Minnesota.

“Still a lot of people are buying gas and scrambling. I really expected less people, all in all. Still, I would say we’re 90% of a given day. “

_ This story has been updated to include new comments from PennDOT.

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