Eugene, OR. -- Effective immediately, gas stations can let drivers pump their own gas, which is unfamiliar territory for Oregonians.
“During this unprecedented time of state emergency, we need to ensure that critical supply lines for fuels and other basic services remain uninterrupted,” State Fire Marshal Jim Walker said in a press release.
In an effort to comply with social distancing guidelines, Walker announced Saturday gas stations are no longer required to enforce regulations against self-service.
Self-service is not mandatory. Individual gas stations can decide if they will give customers the option.
“I grew up in California so I’m used to pumping my own gas. So I’m grateful for the job but it doesn’t bother me that people have the option to if they want to do it themselves," said Chevron gas attendant Christopher Smith.
That’s saying a lot coming from a gas attendant himself because that’s not the norm in Oregon. But with these times it might have to be.
“These guys are just here doing us a favor right now. We need to take that into consideration and give them whatever they ask us for," said Eugene resident Mark Roberts. “Whatever crazy rules you think are going on, I believe this is for everyone’s safety.”
It’s difficult for gas station attendants to maintain the recommended six-foot distance from other people while taking payments and refueling vehicles. There are still some concerns that surface, however, now that citizens have the option to be independent at the gas station.
“Now you have 30 or 40 different people touching a pump every few hours and maybe that’s not the best way to (stop the spread of coronavirus),” said Arco cashier Jay Haser.
Even though people are coming and going, the provision does require attendants to sanitize the pump on a regular basis.
“I think it entirely depends on each individual person if they take the right measures to protect themselves," said Eugene resident Mike McKell. "But if they don’t have the right cleaning precautions in their car, then leave it to the gas attendant to take care of it for you.”
Attendants around the area still want the work. In fact, they welcome it.
“If someone comes up to me and asks to pump their gas, of course I’m going to. That’s my job,” said Arco gas attendant Daniel Morris. “Hopefully I continue pumping gas and this doesn’t last long. Hopefully this gets over soon.”
This new rule will last until at least April 11. Then the state will make a decision on whether or not to continue it.