Even in a global pandemic, no self-service gas for New Jersey drivers

New Jersey drivers who thought that the coronavirus pandemic would mean that they would get to pump their own gas are going to be disappointed.
The Garden State is the only state in the country that bans self-service gasoline. The only other state that has restrictions – Oregon – allows self-service in rural areas of the state. But Oregon officials recently opened the entire state to self-service to promote social distancing and prevent the spread of COVID-19, leaving New Jersey as the last state standing.
But there are calls in New Jersey to allow self-service, now, more than ever. The executive director of New Jersey Gasoline and C-Store Association wrote a letter to Gov. Phil Murphy asking for a roll-back on the ban. He says that gas station attendants are at risk.
“The employees are fearful to work. They cannot do the social distancing at the gas pumps and they are, in some instances, four and five at a time, quitting,” says Sal Risalvato.
Risalvato says that the association is proposing to allow gas retailers to have a sectioned-off area where motorists can pump their own gas if they choose.
“If you don’t have contact with another person and you sanitize that gas nozzle and you don’t hand your credit card to somebody and you handle that transaction yourself, that is far safer than the situation we have right now,” Risalvato says.
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The Exxon on Route 9 in Freehold reopened on Thursday after being closed for three weeks. The owner says that six of his nine attendants refused to show up to work due to fears of the virus.
“None of my guys want to work because they are scared,” says owner Kaptan Guleria. “People don’t want to hand over their credit cards, they are scared to come too close. So, all my guys got scared and said they don’t want to work anymore.”
Risalvato says that gas station owners all over the state have expressed similar sentiments.
Gas attendant Raphael Vazquez is still working. He says that he washes his hands after ever sale and changes his gloves often. He says that he may be at risk, but that someone has to do it.
The governor said on Friday that there are currently no plans to lift the ban on self-serve gasoline.