Nebraska’s rest stops are open after disruption tied to toilet paper

A truck driver rolling through Nebraska carrying toilet paper to the shelves may have encountered an unpleasant fact – a rest stop he or she was planning to use might have been closed because of – a lack of toilet paper.

But as last week drew to a close, they were all open.

There had been reports circulating in social media that Nebraska had closed its rest stops, much like Pennsylvania had done and then reversed when it was criticized for doing so. Nebraska has 21 stops on Interstate 80, according to Jeni Campana, spokeswoman for the Nebraska Department of Transportation (NDOT).

But there had been no notification of such a shutdown, leading to confusion. On Friday, March 20, Nebraska cleared it up.

“NDOT has been working with its trucking partners and rest area contractors to ensure facilities will be opened to all who need them during this pandemic,” the state said in its statement. “As a result of these efforts, beginning today, all rest area facilities will be open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.”In an email to FreightWaves, Campana said that last week, “almost all” the state’s rest areas had been open. But there were differences in the hours that the stops’ facilities were available. Parking always remained open.

“We had one two rest areas near Sidney that were closed due to the lack of toilet paper,” she wrote, when asked about the rumors that the closures were caused by toilet paper issues. Sidney is nine miles from the Nebraska-Colorado state line.

“We had a few that were open during daytime hours while attendants were on site for cleaning and stocking of supplies,” she wrote. “As of Friday [March 20], the hours for all the rest areas are now 24/7, unless they are closed for construction or winter snow storms.”

“Contractors on site will clean and sanitize the buildings during normal daytime hours,” the state said in its release.

Beyond Nebraska’s shutdowns and those in Pennsylvania, now mostly ended, there are no other known shutdowns of rest stops anywhere in the country. 

The intersection between toilet paper and trucking was also evident in a story late last week out of North Carolina. A truck carrying what police believed was stolen toilet paper was detained. All 53 feet of the trailer, filled with America’s most desired product.