UPDATE: Here we are, nine months later, and we are still in the grips of the Corona Virus pandemic. We’ve gone through widespread, unprecedented shut-downs and re-openings, only to be faced with the possibility of shut-downs again, as we navigate the holiday season. The trucking industry as a whole continues to play a critical role in the global supply chain, helping stores stock their shelves and helping concerned consumers get the goods they need. Ensuring the safety of your employees and customers must remain your top priority.
Since we first published this article, NATSO has done a great job of curating a list of links to resources, state-regulations and best-practices. Click here to visit NATSO’s website to read their Covid-19 information.
There’s no playbook for how truck stops should operate under these conditions. However, there are best practices franchisees and truck stop owners can follow. Read on to learn more.
Deep Clean Your Truck Stop. Every Inch of It
Hire professionals to deep clean everything inside the truck stop, the entryways, the exterior, any surface that a customer or employee could possibly touch. When the deep clean occurs, no one should be inside the building except for the professional cleaners. No exceptions.
We recommend using CDC guidelines to stay clean and disinfected. Click here for the latest guidelines from the CDC on cleaning and disinfecting your facility.
Require Your Customers to Wear Masks and Use Social Distancing
This is the easiest way to keep everyone protected. Keep a stash to offer customers that forget theirs in their vehicle. Saving them from running back out in inclement weather is good service!
You’re going to have people in a line to get fuel, be it truckers using OTR fleet cards or drivers of passenger cars paying to get gas. Shut this down before that line grows.
Institute a policy that people need to be six feet apart in line, and mark the floors accordingly. It’s further recommended that you cap your indoor capacity at whatever your particular state’s recommendations are.
Require Employees to Wear Masks and Latex Gloves, Wipe Down the Card Reader in Between Purchases, and Social Distance
Your employees need to wear masks and gloves and social distance from each other and the customers. If this is impossible in your checkout setup, consider installing physical barriers between the employee and the customer. Plexiglass seems to be the most common as it allows line of site for ease of communication. They should wipe down the card reader in between transactions. Keep a stash of masks, gloves and disinfectant for your employees to use throughout their shift.
Ask for Credit Card Transactions over Cash
While there’s no confirmed information that COVID-19 transmits through money, it’s easier to sanitize an EMV card reader than it is to clean money. It’s also faster and reduces hand-to-hand transactions. You won’t be able to require credit, but you can respectfully ask.
For diesel fuel islands, use self-pay only.
Whenever possible at your truck stops, ask customers to self-pay options.
No Sitdown Dining, No Matter What
Dining establishments have largely stopped sitdown service during the COVID-19 outbreak. Why? It prevents people from having prolonged exposure to one another. Some states have even mandated this.
If you have a restaurant of any kind at your truck stop, stop serving sitdown clients. You can offer to-go orders and have customers pick up their food outside or at a drive-through window.
Don’t allow any congregating of customers or employees in groups greater than 10.
Make an Informed Decision about Shower and Laundry Facilities
Many truckers live on the road, almost permanently. They rely on truck stops to get showered up and to clean their clothes. With many hotels, motels, and Airbnbs closing down, this dependence will grow.
If you can reasonably limit the number of people using showers and laundry (fewer than six people in a room, again six feet apart), then you might be able to keep those facilities open. If not, skip it.
Remember that your cleaning staff will have to professionally clean these facilities multiple times a day.
Prepare But Don’t Stress. Contact Financial Fuel Services to Learn More.
The precautions you take will help your customers, employees, and community. At Financial Fuel Services, we care deeply about our client’s health and well-being. We’re here to support, educate, and assist. Please feel free to reach out to us with further questions about how to deal for the COVID-19 pandemic.