Truck Stops, Travel Centers Open During Coronavirus Crisis

Love's Travel Stops
A Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores location in Hazen, Ark. Love's is providing food on a drive-through and carryout basis. (Love's Travel Stops & Country Stores)

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Most travel centers and truck stops nationwide are remaining open during the coronavirus pandemic but operate with restrictions ranging from disallowing sit-down food service to practicing social distancing precautions.

“Truck drivers are depending on truck stops and travel centers as they deliver food and life-saving supplies. Our members are committed to doing their part during the nation’s response to this emergency,” Natso President and CEO Lisa Mullings said March 16. “Fuel retailers are essential businesses that must remain open even if other nonessential businesses are forced to close.”

Truckers extend the supply chain all the way to store shelves; and rest stops not only allow them to manage fatigue but also provide access to food, fuel and basic sanitation.



For example, Pilot Co. said all of its stores are open, replete with fuel islands, restrooms and showers.

“We are currently not experiencing any fuel supply issues,” Pilot said. “Our showers are open, and we are cleaning each shower after each use with degreaser, disinfectant and floor cleaner.”

And the company said it is following other travel centers and customizing eateries so that they are mostly take-out.

RESOURCE PAGE: What's open, what's closed, what's limited

“We are closing all self-serve food. In locations where dining seating is still allowed, we are cleaning food contact surfaces using food grade sanitizer.” Guests can use their own mugs and cups.

Gaming room restrictions are now limited to three participants at a time, Pilot said.

Likewise, Love’s Travel Stops said it’s stores will remain open but will only provide food service on a drive-through and carryout basis — the same as fast food outlets.

“We are employing vigorous and frequent cleaning and disinfecting measures in all areas of our stores,” Love’s said. “We also have placed additional hand sanitizing stations at our locations.”

To curtail hoarding of high-demand merchandise, Love’s said it will be limiting quantities. Customers can visit the in-store cashier for requested products and quantity allowances per customer, it said.

Love’s has temporarily closed game rooms at a number of locations.

TravelCenters of America and Petro Stopping Centers said all of its fuel lanes will remain open, and that showers can be reserved.

“Carryout at all restaurants is still available. Depending on the applicable government mandate, we may have to bring the food out to you,” the company said.

Meanwhile, states and private corporations have recognized the need to service and feed truckers as well and are ready to fill any voids.

Philadelphia-based repair shop PennFleet opened its property to truck drivers.

“If you or your team needs a place to stop and rest, and your regular spots are closed or full due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, check out PennFleet in Boothwyn, Delaware County,” the company said March 19.

The company, located at 591 Meetinghouse Road in Boothwyn, Pa., said parking spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s providing portable toilets, hand sanitizing stations and snacks.

Also, the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission will reopen all 17 of its service plazas, and restrooms inside all service plazas will be open 24 hours. The outdoor portable toilets will remain in place at the service plazas.

Limited food options will be available for take-out only.

“All service plazas will have limited staffing for the safety of the employees,” the commission said. “Fuel and all convenience stores inside the service plazas will continue to remain open 24 hours a day.”

In New Jersey, Gail Toth, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, issued an advisory to truck drivers working in the Garden State: “The New Jersey Turnpike is open for food, fuel, parking and restrooms except for Richard Stockton Service Plaza, which is closed in its entirety due to construction. The Vince Lombardi Service Plaza presently has parking, restrooms and vending; this location is currently being rebuilt as well.”

Iowa 80 Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa, the world’s largest truckstop, did not return several phone calls seeking comment.

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