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ONroute offering free coffee to truck drivers on Wednesday

Tractor-trailers sit in a parking lot. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/David Zalubowski

It’s a small gesture of thanks for the drivers who are hauling essential goods across the province amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company behind ONroute Service Centres — 24-hour pit-stops off the side Highway 401 and Highway 400 that offer gasoline and a variety of food options — will be giving away a free medium coffee or other beverage on Wednesday to truck drivers across Ontario.

“ONroute is proud to support the essential services provided by so many workers during this time,” Melanie Teed-Murch, CEO of ONroute, said in a statement.

“We have the opportunity to serve our trucking and supply chain sectors and hope that this small token of appreciation demonstrates our gratitude for the many ways they are helping our province and country during this challenging time.”

The coffee will be handed out at all 23 locations for the entire day to truck drivers who provide provide a form of proof of trucking licence or association membership if available.

“We know it is a hard time to travel and we’re proud to offer truckers, and all travellers who are on our roads, somewhere safe and clean to stop on their journey,” Teed-Murch said.

Last month, Premier Doug Ford said truck drivers were “critical” in the fight against COVID-19, and announced they would be changing regulations so drivers could provide 24-hour delivery without infringing on local city bylaws.

In a pledge to keep them safe, Health Minister Christine Elliott and Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney called on businesses to help support truck drivers and said they would be leaving all OnRoute locations open during the pandemic.

“In these extraordinary times, we have extraordinary heroes. Our truck drivers are these heroes. They are working long hours, day and night delivering food and equipment and other essential supplies for Ontario families,” the ministers said in a joint statement last week.