The gas station pump will be put in the hands of ordinary motorists across Oregon during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak caused by the novel coronavirus.
The Oregon State Fire Marshal announced the suspension of the rules — which had required an attendant to handle refueling duties in all but rural areas — at 6 a.m. on Saturday, March 28.
"During this unprecedented time of state emergency, we need to ensure that critical supply lines for fuels and other basic services remain uninterrupted," said State Fire Marshal Jim Walker.
Walker says gas stations must still have an attendant on duty to supervise the new self-service regimen, ensure that customers practice social distancing measures and to sanitize equipment.
But for 10 consecutive hours a day, stations may allow refueling without an attendant present, as long as the owners maintain documentation that no workers were available to work at that time, including proof that hiring and employee retention efforts were fruitless.
Oregonians will be allowed to pump their own gas until Saturday, April 11, though an extension of the order is possible.
An online FAQ posted by the Fire Marshal notes that gas station operators are not required to provide gloves to customers, and enforcement of the measure will be based on complaints.
"OSFM does not intend to actively monitor retail service stations for compliance," the FAQ states. "However, if our office receives information that a station may not be following the rules, we will reach out to them to provide education to assist them."
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