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Is it time for Coquitlam and Richmond to give up full-service gas stations?

Last Updated Mar 29, 2020 at 10:37 pm PDT

FILE - Gas prices are displayed as a motorist prepares to pump gas at a station in North Vancouver, B.C., Tuesday, May 10, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Attendants need to be conscious about their interactions, so some say by-laws requiring full service should be scrapped

The state of Oregon has decided to allow drivers to pump their own gas, but only until April 11

COQUITLAM/RICHMOND (NEWS 1130) – Should Richmond and Coquitlam change their gas pump by-laws because of the pandemic?

Both municipalities require attendants to pump the gas into vehicles.

But now that employees are more conscious of their interactions with the public due to COVID-19, some think those by-laws need to be revisited.

“I’m absolutely willing to have us contemplate eliminating that requirement for full-serve,” says Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart. “It makes sense to me that we are trying to reduce face-to-face interactions at the till and at the gas pump.”

But that’s not a decision that’s up to city council. The city’s Emergency Operations Centre would have to deal with the matter.

“We’ll be putting this question to the Emergency Operations team. We’ll ask them to essentially come up with some recommendations for us to go forward. None of these decisions should be made in the political forum,” says Stewart.

Richmond’s mayor is a little more reticent about making a change.

“When you’ve got a bylaw that has lasted for 50 years and has served you well, you are a little hesitant to change without good reason,” says Malcolm Brodie.

He says there are two major reasons to keep things as they are.

“One is to preserve the jobs at the gas stations, and the other is to assist people with disabilities – those who can’t get out of their cars.”

He says he admits the gas stations themselves want council to relax the current rules, but he says there has been no talk of any changes at the council level.

The state of Oregon has decided to allow drivers to pump their own gas, but only until April 11. It’s been a controversial decision. Some say more drivers will now be at risk if they all have to handle the pumps.