To reduce the spread of COVID-19, many states have made mask-wearing mandatory in public spaces. Unfortunately, America continues to lag behind many other countries in combating the spread of this virus.
To further fight the pandemic, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as well as the National Association of Truck Stop Owners are encouraging truck stops to make mask wearing mandatory. As a result, facial mask coverings are now required at Love’s, TravelCenters of America, and Pilot Flying J.
The Arguments for Masks
Because OTR drivers travel from state to state, the requirements from each area can differ. Hopefully a blanket requirement for masks will reduce confusion what is asked of drivers as they visit truck stops.
Truck drivers are also essential workers. Without drivers, Americans don’t get food or any other necessities. But drivers need food too, and if the workers at the food stops contract the virus, then truck stops would cease to be fully-staffed and able to provide for drivers.
Lisa Mullings, CEO of National Association of Truck Stop Owners (NATSO), comments, “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.”
This sentiment is also shared by the American Trucking Association, or ATA. In a statement issued by Chris Spear, ATA CEO, “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 truck stops and public rest areas.”
Wearing a mask can be an inconvenience, but recent research does suggest that COVID is mostly spread by transmission in the air. While surface transmission is more rare, washing your hands, using hand sanitizer, and social distancing are also recommended.
That said, many drivers want masks to be optional, not a forced requirement.
- Love’s – “We want to thank our customers who continue to adapt to these protective measures implemented at Love’s.”
- Pilot Flying J – “We join the travel center industry in this effort to ask everyone to do their part in protecting against the spread of COVID-19 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”
- TravelCenters of America – “TravelCenters of America is adopting NATSO’s recommendation that truck stops and travel plazas nationwide adopt a policy requiring customers to wear face coverings or masks to protect the health and safety of employees and customers during the COVID-19 pandemic.”