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DeWine approves food trucks for rest stops

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Department of Transportation is temporarily opening the state’s 86 rest areas to food trucks, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Friday.

DeWine said this would allow for options for truck drivers and essential workers to get a hot meal during the COVID-19 closures.

“Truck drivers are the lifeblood of the economy and their jobs have never been more critical than now,” he said. “I’ve heard from many in the trucking industry that finding a place to eat while they’re on the road has been tough, but we’re here to help.”

Federal regulations prohibit commercial activity at rest areas, with limited exceptions. Last week, the Federal Highway Administration announced they would temporarily suspend enforcement of those regulations.

Mobile food vendors must download a permit from the ODOT website and display it at all times while operating. They must also abide by state and local food service regulations as well as social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure the safety and health of staff and customers. The Ohio State Highway Patrol will regularly monitor rest areas to enforce compliance with all Ohio laws and regulations by the commercial food truck vendors who elect to set up operations.

The governor also hailed Ohio companies, who he said “are really making a difference.”

He said alcohol distilleries in the state have began producing hand sanitizer.

DeWine said JobsOhio has purchased 3,100 cases of hand sanitizer from this production, amounting to 1 million ounces, to donate to the state’s 12 food banks.

They’ll be arriving at distribution sites this week and delivered soon,” the governor said.