This week, NATSO, representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, encouraged truckstops 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.

The health and well-being of the industry’s employees and customers is the top priority for the truckstop and travel plaza industry. The Centers for Disease Control has called on all Americans to wear face masks to reduce the spread of the disease. Because the virus can be spread by those who do not have symptoms and do not know they are infected, it is important for everyone to wear masks.

For professional drivers and other travelers, the differing mask requirements from one locality to another has created confusion. A mandatory mask policy will prevent truck drivers from navigating differing policy requirements as they cross state and local boundaries.

“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 representing the trucking industry, including the American Trucking Associations, 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.”

The Department of Homeland Security declared truckstops and travel plazas as essential businesses in its Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure workforce to ensure that travel plazas and truckstops could keep America’s truck drivers on the road delivering food and essential medical supplies throughout the country. By requiring customers to wear masks, truckstops and travel plazas can safeguard their ability to remain open and staffed 24-7, assuring that travelers and truck drivers have places to find fuel, food and rest.