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CHARLESTON — In response to the U.S. Department of Transportation suspending its prohibition of food trucks at federally funded rest areas, the West Virginia Division of Highways has set guidelines allowing for food trucks at rest areas as a temporary measure to ease the burden on truck drivers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Truck drivers who keep our stores supplied with the things we need are having difficulty finding food to eat along the way,” Jacob Bumgarner, director of the WVDOH Operations Division, said in a news release announcing the new guidelines. “Allowing food trucks at our rest areas keeps them from having to leave the interstate to look for something to eat. In our small towns, with the size of the trucks, that can be very difficult.”

Jason Webb, owner of Southside Sliders food truck and G.D. Ritzy’s restaurant in Huntington, says he thinks it a great idea and a good opportunity for someone operating a food truck.

“Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, Southside Sliders and G.D. Ritzy’s are both closed down,” he said.

Webb says while he likes the new guidelines, it still would not be enough for him to start the food truck back up at this time.

“We tried to stay open, but we were doing less than half the business we did before everything was shut down,” he said.

The Randolph Sheppard Program, which provides opportunities for people who are blind or deaf, will continue to offer snacks in the vending machines at the rest areas, and that valuable service is available as well, Bumgarner added.

“Food vendors will be limited to two per rest area — in addition to the Randolph Sheppard Program — and those meeting the requirements on the application will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis,” he said.

Applications to temporarily operate a food truck at WVDOH rest areas and welcome centers are available on the WVDOT’s website and should be submitted to Charles.L.Anderson@wv.gov and the district engineer for each rest area location. For more information, contact Anderson at 304-932-9346.

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