The state Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that 23 of the state’s 30 rest areas are open to all motorists, including indoor restrooms and vending machines.
The reopened rest areas are on interstates 79, 80, 81 and 84, according to a PennDOT news release.
All rest areas were closed on March 17 in response to Gov. Tom Wolf’s mitigation guidance regarding the coronavirus.
Following public outcry against Wolf for closing the facilities as long-haul truck drivers traversed the nation to restock empty shelves, PennDOT reopened 13 rest stops to traffic only and installed portable restrooms and hand-washing facilities.
Those 13 stops are included in the 23 reopened on Tuesday, but the portable restrooms have been removed and the buildings opened, said PennDOT spokeswoman Alexis Campbell.
She said existing staff will carry out additional cleaning and sanitizing at all 23 stops, which were strategically chosen to best serve motorists.
PennDOT will continue to evaluate the situation and plans to eventually open all 30 rest stops, Campbell said.
“While unnecessary travel is discouraged as we all do our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we understand that some trips are necessary and that access to rest areas is important,” said acting PennDOT secretary Yassmin Gramian.
Services at the 17 service plazas along the Turnpike have also been affected by COVID-19.
Availability of food, fuel and other services in the service plazas can be found at paturnpike.com.