NATSO Encourages Truck Stop Industry to Adopt Mask Requirement
ALEXANDRIA, Va. — NATSO is encouraging truckstops and travel plazas nationwide to adopt a policy requiring that customers wear masks or face coverings in order to protect the health and safety of both employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Different mask requirements from one locality to another have created confusion for professional drivers and other travelers, according to NATSO, adding that a mandatory mask policy would prevent truck drivers from navigating differing policy requirements as they cross state and local boundaries.
The association highlighted the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) call for all Americans to wear face masks to reduce the spread of the disease, as the novel coronavirus can be spread by those who do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected.
"In many parts of the country, we are seeing a growth in the number of cases, so we expect that more states, cities and counties will mandate masks," said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings. "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. 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."
NATSO also urged associations that represent the trucking industry, including the American Trucking Association (ATA), to encourage all professional drivers to wear masks.
"It's time once again for our industry to lead and show our country how to get the job done. This pandemic is a crisis not of our making, but overcoming it requires each of us doing our individual part," said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. "Masking is the simplest and most effective way to defeat this virus, and ATA strongly encourages all fleets to adhere to mask requirements in private truckstops and public rest areas."
Knoxville, Tenn.-based Pilot Co., which has more than 950 locations, is among the travel center operators that will require masks moving forward. As of July 28, customers will be required to wear a face covering at all company owned and operated locations. Face coverings are available to professional drivers that do not have one, and Pilot is working to make them available upon request as supplies last.
"The wellness of our team members and guests is important to Pilot Company," it said in a released statement. "We are deeply committed to our number one quality standard of safety and continue to evaluate our safety protocols according to health department, state and local ordinances."
Pilot also requires employees to wear face coverings and has instituted frequent sanitizing procedures; provides hand sanitizer stations for public use; installed protective shields at all points of sale; and displays in-store signage to remind customers of the importance of following social distancing, healthy hygiene and area mandates.
"It is vital that our travel centers remain open and operational to provide the fuel, food and amenities drivers need to do their jobs," Pilot Co. said. "We join the travel center industry in this effort to ask everyone to do their part in protecting against the spread of COVID-19 in order to help ensure that our team members, professional drivers and other essential workers stay safe and are able to keep providing the goods and services that North America depends on."
Founded in 1960, NATSO represents the industry on legislative and regulatory matters; serves as the official source of information on the diverse travel plaza and truckstop industry; provides education to its members; conducts an annual convention and trade show; and supports efforts to generally improve the business climate in which its members operate.