Oregon’s COVID-19 Statewide Joint Information Center and the Oregon Department of Energy (ODOE) are providing additional clarification related to yesterday’s announcement from the Office of the State Fire Marshal, which temporarily suspended Oregon’s ban on self-service gas stations.
This temporary suspension does not make self-service mandatory. The intention is to ensure fuel is available to essential personnel who need to travel. The Oregon Fuels Association (OFA) states, “This change allows gas station attendants to help these customers while avoiding face-to-face, hand-to hand contact and apply social distancing practices. Attendants will sanitize equipment and fuel nozzles and assist customers with refueling as needed.”
ODOE is responsible for maintaining a reliable source of fuel for Oregonians. The gas station workforce has recently reduced by as much as 50 percent due to illness, childcare issues and safety concerns according to the fuel industry. Self-service allows some gas stations to continue operations with fewer staff and ensures Oregonians can refuel their vehicles.
OFA adds, “Unattended self-service will only happen if and when a gas station owner exhausts all staffing options.” Those stations that do not have an attendant on hand are required to post safety signs for social distancing as well as instructions for how to operate a fuel pump.
This temporary suspension is currently in effect through April 11, 2020, and may be extended by the Oregon State Fire Marshal. Amidst the COVID-19, the goal of this change is to make refueling safer for both customers and service station attendants, while keeping stations open.
This does not affect existing areas of the state already authorized for self-service refueling under Oregon law.