Ontario Premier Doug Ford is pleading with business owners to “have a heart” and keep their washrooms open for truck drivers, after drivers have found closed rest stops and limited access at gas stations to be a growing challenge during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My friends, we’re all in this together. You have to let the truckers, when they stop for gas, if they stop for food, let them use the washrooms. Clean your washrooms, let them use your washrooms,” Ford said to media Tuesday.
This is a disgrace. Drivers get goods to market. Let's show them some respect.— Monte McNaughton (@MonteMcNaughton) March 29, 2020
And businesses: ensure your washroom facilities are properly cleaned. Let’s all work together. pic.twitter.com/x1Xp3AjI5m
Monte McNaughton, Ontario’s minister of labour, training and skills development, shared a photo on Twitter earlier this week of four signs saying the businesses did not have washrooms available for truck drivers. “No drivers beyond this point,” one sign read.
The ministry has not yet responded to a request for comment to confirm whether all of the photos are from facilities in Ontario.
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Gas stations and truck stops were listed as essential services by the Ontario government amid the pandemic.
The premier said he has had conversations with the Ontario Trucking Association, the Women in Trucking Association and truck drivers themselves.
He said if it wasn’t for truck drivers, businesses wouldn’t be open because they wouldn’t have items to sell.
“So have a heart, you know, open up the washrooms for these truckers,” Ford said. “It’s not right, it’s not fair. They’re doing their job.”
Ford said that any provincial stop such as ONroute service centres will be open for truckers, but noted the locations may not be convenient for drivers in every situation.