You may recall at what was hopefully the height of the coronavirus hysteria that the state of Pennsylvania made the executive decision to close all of its rest stops in the state, even for parking purposes. After pressure from the negative press for the decision, the state of Pennsylvania has decided to renege on the policy.
The New System in Place
On March 18th, but one day after the declaration of closing all rest stops within the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has determined that the most popular 13 of the 30 rest stops that were closed are once again open for business, but with some caveats intended to reduce the spread of the virus.
All services at the rest stops will still be closed, but the rest stops will be available for truckers to get some rest. When nature calls, truckers can use a portable toilet, five of which are placed at each location and will be cleaned once a day by a staff member.
The American Trucking Association (ATA), a detractor of the original shutdown, says there is still work to be done. “The proposed changes, expected to take place no later than Saturday, include indoor bathrooms being available at all hours; the convenience store open at all hours, and one restaurant at each location open from 7 am until 6 pm for a limited take-out menu.”
As of the time of this writing, PennDOT has expanded the number of open rest stops from 13 to 23.
“While unnecessary travel is discouraged as we all do our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we understand that some trips are necessary and that access to rest areas is important,” said Acting PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We are constantly evaluating our actions and services in responding to this emergency and will make adjustments where we can safely do so.”
The decision to close rest stops when truck drivers needed them most to deliver important goods across the state and country was a deeply unpopular move (even we at Topmark Funding had some choice words), but the state of Pennsylvania is only trying its best to help slow the spread of COVID-19. By opening some and limiting service, hopefully PennDOT has reached an equilibrium of helping trucking succeed while hampering the coronavirus menace.
Article courtesy of TopMark Funding.