Major Truck-Stop Chains Will Require Drivers to Use Face Masks

Requirement will affect 1,500 fueling and food sites across the U.S. starting next week

Major truck-stop chains, including Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores, are setting mask rules as Covid-19 cases surge across the U.S.

Photo: David Tulis/Associated Press

2020欧洲杯APPThe biggest U.S. truck-stop operators will require customers to wear masks starting next week, joining major retailers, restaurants and airlines in rolling out policies aimed at reducing the spread of coronavirus.

The new rules cover more than 1,500 facilities across key transportation routes where truckers buy fuel, supplies and food.

Pilot Co., which operates 780 travel centers under the Pilot Flying J and other brands, said its mandate will take effect July 28. Similar policies kick in July 29 at Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores Inc. and TravelCenters of America Inc. sites.

Big companies including McDonald’s Corp., Walmart Inc. and Kroger Co. are setting mask rules as Covid-19 cases surge across the U.S. The policies go beyond some local and state requirements, and come as masks continue to spark debate among some Americans despite the growing medical and scientific consensus that facial coverings help prevent transmission.

The coronavirus has made life on the road more challenging for truckers as they contend with new requirements and restrictions. Many shipping customers require drivers to wear masks, or not to leave their vehicles at all when picking up or dropping off freight. Temperature checks are common, and some customers ask drivers to sign health affidavits.

NATSO, a trade group for the travel plaza and truck-stop industry, urged operators nationwide to require customers to wear face masks, saying a patchwork of varying local requirements was confusing for truck drivers and travelers.

“While we understand that there is disagreement about whether to mask, we are urging members to follow the advice of medical experts, including the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention],” NATSO Chief Executive Lisa Mullings said in a statement Friday. “We have a patriotic duty to guard the health of our employees and customers and believe this is an easy way to get the U.S. economy moving during this unprecedented global pandemic.”

2020欧洲杯APPLove’s and Pilot said the new policies are intended to protect workers, customers and truck drivers from the coronavirus, and that customers can buy masks at their facilities if they don’t already have one. “For professional drivers that do not have a face covering, we offer them for purchase and are working to make them available upon request as supplies last,” Pilot said.

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In his first White House coronavirus briefing since April, President Trump appeared to reverse his stance on masks, saying, “Whether you like the mask or not, they have an impact, they’ll have an effect.” Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Write to Jennifer Smith at jennifer.smith@kinofilmz.com

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