• Marissa Elman

How travel centers are responding

How travel centers are responding
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Handout photos of the Flying J facilities which include both the Flying J Travel Plazas and Pilot Travel Center. (Photo: None, Flying J)

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Across the country, hundreds of travel centers are making adjustments in how they do business during the coronavirus pandemic.

At roughly 780 Pilot and Flying J travel centers in North America, including two in the Coachella Valley, a number of measures are being taken to limit exposure.

In a statement, Pilot Company outlined its precautions:

  • Implementing a fresh cup policy for all refills, including using a new cup to pour drinks into personal mugs
  • Frequent cleaning of restrooms, showers and commonly-used areas with disinfectant
  • Offering food for purchase, including wrapped grab-and-go foods and pre-packaged foods
  • Closing all dining rooms and self-serve food, such as soup, hot dogs and corn dogs
  • Having team members frequently wash hands with soap and water
  • Requiring employees showing any symptoms to stay home and use paid sick leave

“More than ever, it is essential that we work together to support our communities, the industry and professional drivers to help keep North America moving,” Pilot Company CEO Jimmy Haslam said in a statement. 

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On its website, the company stated that it did not anticipate any fuel shortages during the crisis.

“The fuel supply in the United States continues to be strong,” the company said.

Love’s Travel Stops, which has a location in Coachella, has also taken precautions, according to its website. 

Some of the changes include:

  • Converting all self-service roller grills, delis and drink bars to full-service by Love’s staff
  • Changing restaurant hours
  • Adding hand sanitizer stations
  • Removing self-service condiment stations and urging customers to use pre-packaged condiments
  • Trading out grill tongs and fountain nozzles with clean, sanitized replacements 

TravelCenters of America, which also has a location in Coachella, is taking similar precautions that include increased cleanings and the closure of dine-in areas, fitness centers and driver lounges. 

Shane Newell covers breaking news and the western Coachella Valley cities of Palm Springs, Cathedral City and Desert Hot Springs. He can be reached at Shane.Newell@DesertSun.com, (760) 778-4649 or on Twitter at @journoshane.

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