CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) In West Virginia gas stations are listed as essential service and will remain open.
From the outside gas stations look like things are almost normal. But inside customers are noticing some changes.
“I know I have some members that have an alarm set on their cash registers where they are cleaning hourly,” explained Traci Nelson, President of the West Virginia Oil Marketers and Grocers Association.
Gas station employees are cleaning all common surfaces and keeping tabs on the health of employees as well.
“The Health Department they are asking retailers to check your employees temperatures when they arrive for work so they are doing that as well,” Nelson said. She said her group has been working with the Governor’s office and Major General James Hoyer since last week. When restaurants were ordered to close that took away any self serve options inside gas stations. That means people cannot make their own fountain drinks, coffee or prepare food off the roller grills. Now employees have to make drinks and pour coffee.
Nelson said the biggest challenge so far is people buying more than they need.
“All of the panic buying has created supply issues,” Nelson said. “Our food industry is strong in the US but it is just overwhelmed right now because people are continuing to go in and panic buy.”
She said people can help one another by limiting their purchases to what they need. When you are in those stores you can also do your part by keeping your distance from other shoppers.
Nelson said people should also be careful at the pump.
“Common sense will tell you that has to be one of the dirtiest places,” Nelson said. “We would advise anyone to use one of those paper towels that is hanging up.”
As far as the supply of gasoline she said while some disasters do prompt people to rush to buy fuel, right now they are selling less gasoline than usual because people are following state guidance and not traveling.