HACKENSACK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — There’s been a recent push for self-serve gas in New Jersey.
“They cannot keep the 6-foot social distance, and they have to do a lot of cash transactions and credit card transactions,” said Kashmir Gill, president of Gill Energy.READ MORE: As Search Continues For Brian Laundrie, North Carolina Coastal Community Remembers 'Bright Light' Gabby Petito
It’s that interaction with the public that has gas station attendants quitting en masse across New Jersey, according to station owners.
Gill owns nearly 70 stations in the state.
He says more than half of his attendants are not coming to work because they are afraid of getting sick.
“So they are really worried about their safety. They say if we cannot keep social distance, we don’t want to come and pump gas,” Gill told CBS2’s Nick Caloway.
Gill says because of a shortage of workers and New Jersey’s state law banning drivers from fueling up themselves, he’s had to close some stations and cut hours at others.
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Sal Risalvato is executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store And Automotive Association.
He has asked the governor to temporarily suspend the self-serve gas law during the coronavirus pandemic to protect gas attendants and to keep stations open.READ MORE: Dr. Howard Zucker Stepping Down As New York State Health Commissioner
“We want to allow a motorist who feels safer pumping their own gas to utilize a separate gasoline island, pump their own, and not have to encounter a gas attendant,” Risalvato said.
New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney told CBS2 he is opposed to lifting the self-serve ban.
“With all due respect, this is not going to happen. Listen, the governor can issue an executive order. But I would be opposed to it. Because I just don’t think we should be putting more people out of work during an economic downturn,” Sweeney said.
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Gov. Phil Murphy was asked about the request Friday.
“Nothing new to report on self-service gas,” he said.
New Jersey and Oregon are the only states with self-serve restrictions.MORE NEWS: Storm Watch: Flash Flood Watch Issued As Heavy Rain Approaches
In March, Oregon temporarily lifted its ban in response to the pandemic.