Ecclefechan truck stop owner calls for U-turn on closing lorry driver cafes during coronavirus


A truck stop owner pleaded with the Scottish Government to make a U-turn on closing cafes used by lorry drivers.

Graham Eardley, who runs the Fechan Truck Stop in Ecclefechan, wants workers to be able to sit down and enjoy a meal away from their cabs.

He said: “We asked local MPs, councillors and trading standards what the situation was with regards to being opened.

“We were told if we could become classed as a workers’ canteen with limited seating and observing strict social distancing we could operate.

“But the Scottish Government reviewed it and now we can only serve takeaways to drivers.

“We want them to review it again. That isn’t a good solution. It doesn’t make much sense because drivers are allowed to queue up two metres apart from the takeaway but they can’t sit two metres apart inside.

“These drivers are spending days and weeks eating three meals a day in their cabs. Nobody else in another walk of life would tolerate it.

“They need to be able to sit down and have their meal in a change of scenery and get some respite from their cabs.”

He added: “Are we seriously expecting drivers to go on like this?

Graham Eardley inside the diner.

“I’ve driven trucks before and I know what it’s like. I’ve been on that side of this situation.

“Drivers are being given respect by the public for what they’re doing but they’re getting treated very badly here.

“It’s going to take its toll mentally on drivers. They’re spending a week away from loved ones. It can’t go on like this.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “HGV drivers across Scotland are working round the clock to help ensure food and essential items remain available for sale and we applaud their hard work in this unprecedented situation.

“Any essential services that remain open during
the current period must adhere to health protection advice for all staff and the public.

“Any public food outlet needs to comply with the relevant emergency restrictions which have been introduced in order to safeguard public health.

“Ministers will continue to support drivers and the haulage industry throughout the Covid-19 outbreak.”

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