ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Last week NATSO, an organization representing the truck stops and travel plazas, encouraged truck stops and travel plazas nationwide to 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.
Love’s Travel Stops was the first large truck-stop chain to mandate face coverings. This policy will go into effect on July 29. Pilot Co. and Travel Centers of America followed suit with mask requirements also beginning this week.
NATSO said in a news release that the differing mask requirements from one locality to another has created confusion for professional drivers and other travelers. A mandatory mask policy will prevent truck drivers from navigating differing policy requirements as they cross state and local boundaries, the organization says.
“In many parts of the country, we are seeing a growth in the number of (COVID-19) 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 representing the trucking industry, including the American Trucking Associations 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 truck stops and public rest areas.”
Truck stops requiring face coverings comes as many national retail chains have required the same of their customers including WalMart, Target, CVS and McDonald’s.