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Problem Solvers Coronavirus Hotline: Why Are Toll Collectors Essential?

Posted at 11:14 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-27 09:27:39-04

Many employees, like turnpike toll collectors, who work in essential businesses have to deal with hundreds or thousands of people daily.

A toll collector called our coronavirus hotline saying, “People travel from all over the world through there, and we are in this booth that is open constantly. We handle all kinds of money. We're in contact with coughing and sneezing, sick people. We have to stand in the booth for like six hours at a time."

Another viewer called in and said, “I’m wondering why a turnpike toll collector position is considered essential during the coronavirus crisis. It seems to me that exposure to thousands of people traveling from various states is NOT smart."

2 Works for You reached out to the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. OTA officials said, "Just as the traditional gas tax continues to be collected at gas pumps to facilitate the operation and needed capital projects on the state highway system, the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority maintains its collection of tolls to manage the Turnpike System and to continue to honor its contractual obligations that, in turn, help with Oklahoma’s economy. Some of these obligations include road maintenance employees, Highway Patrol troopers, vendors, and independent contractors who employ road crews that ultimately rely on OTA to make payroll.”

To help protect toll collectors, OTA officials say there are signs posted only allowing one person at a time in the booths, shifts have been offset to avoid too much overlap, sick employees have to be symptom-free for 72 hours before returning to work, all collectors must wear gloves and take increased breaks for hand washing.

If there is an issue you would like the 2 Works for You problem solvers to look into, then call our coronavirus hotline at 918-748-1502.

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