Truck Stop Operators Warn COVID-19 Restrictions Will Cause Long Delays for Truckers
Washington D.C. – More than 1,700 truck stop and travel plaza operators are warning that some state and local ordinances imposed amid the coronavirus outbreak will cause excruciatingly long delays for truckers.
On Monday, the National Association of Truckstop Operators (NATSO) along with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) sent a letter to state and local governments throughout the Nation urging leaders to draft ordinances which will not impede the ability of truck stops and travel plazas to efficiently serve truckers.
“We understand that in this fast-paced environment, state lockdown orders may have been drafted without accounting for nuances within the fuel retail industry; but it is imperative that local enforcement officials account for certain distinctions and enforce occupancy caps in truck stops in a manner that adheres to CDC social distancing guidelines without unnecessarily disrupting the efficient movement of essential supplies throughout the country,” the letter states.
NATSO says many local officials are enforcing “strict occupancy limits” of as few as 5-10 people in a travel center at one time, including store employees.
“These limits result in exceedingly long wait times for a truck driver to buy food and essentials, take a shower, and get back on the road. In many instances, what could be a 20-minute stop is turning into more than a two-hour layover,” NATSO asserted.
Further, NATSO argues that state and local officials shouldn’t be treating truck stops and travel plazas in the same way as neighborhood convenience stores.
“While an occupancy limit of 5-10 people may make sense in small convenience stores, truck stops are substantially larger,” NATSO explained.
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In addition, NATSO said capacity is a critical issue since truck stops and travel plazas are truck driver’s “only way to stop for food, fuel, showers, and rest while they are on the road.”
The result of such restrictive ordinances is that Americans will experience delays in getting essential relief supplies, NATSO warned.
“Delays at truck stops are negatively affecting the entire supply chain. Please encourage local officials to distinguish between travel centers and truck stops and other businesses,” NATSO implored.
Read the entire letter HERE.
Photo courtesy TA/Petro