Tim Hortons will open washrooms and front counters at 400 of its locations near major highways to truckers, as governments call for business to support drivers transporting essential goods.
In recent days, truck drivers across the country have been increasingly been denied access to basic services such as washrooms amid the COVID-19 pandemic, prompting government leaders to urge businesses to continue providing assistance to travelling truckers.
Tim Hortons, which closed in-store seating at its locations in mid-March, said Thursday it will open more than 400 restaurants along Canadian highways to truck drivers, providing access to front counter service for food and drink as well as access to washrooms that are sanitized every 15 minutes. The company is also working with restaurant owners to roll out a new curb-side mobile ordering system.
“Canada is relying on frontline essential workers to get us through the COVID-19 crisis and truck drivers play an integral role in keeping the country running,” Tim Hortons chief operating officer Mike Hancock said in a statement.
“We know there have been barriers for truck drivers in accessing clean washrooms and food and drinks to keep them going during their work. We made it a priority to address these issues and we continue to work on how we can better serve truck drivers and all guests.”
Truck drivers are a critical part of the Canadian supply chain, transporting a wide range of goods including food and other essential supplies. Industry representatives say shuttered truck stops and off-limits gas stations are a growing challenge across the continent for workers.
On Thursday, Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney released a joint statement calling on businesses to support truckers so they can stay safe and healthy and on the road. Ontario said it would keep 23 ONroute highway stops open and add portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations.
“We have heard from those working within the trucking industry of the treatment that truck drivers have faced while travelling on our roads,” the ministers said in the statement.
“In response, we are calling on all business owners to support truck drivers when they are stopping to rest, get gas or use washrooms.”
With files from the Canadian Press