TravelCenters of America giving coronavirus bonuses to 21K employees

The company operates 250 full-service rest stops along U.S. interstate highways

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TravelCenters of America, a full-service food and auto-service company, is rolling out a new plan to help its more than 21,000 employees still working throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

As part of the effort, some workers will get guaranteed cash.

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“We are fortunate to have such passionate employees committed to the millions of professional drivers hauling crucial supplies around the nation right now,” TravelCenters CEO Jon Pertchik, said in a statement. “We are so grateful for the sacrifice and dedication of our team working hard so we can remain open for the drivers relying on us.”

TravelCenters is the nationwide operator of Petro Stopping Centers and the TA Express travel center network. It operates 250 full-service truck stops and travel centers along the Interstate Highway System in 43 states and Canada. It also operates standalone convenience stores and restaurants in more than 10 states as of 2018.

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All field managers, regardless of performance, will receive guaranteed first-quarter bonuses, the company said. And all field employees will be paid a cash bonus during the next six weeks. All site employees working shifts of six hours or more will get free food and any field employees with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will receive 80 hours paid sick time.

TA is also providing a telemedicine resource and dedicated health care coordinators for eligible employees in its health plan. All TA, Petro Stopping Center and TA Express locations remain to drivers. Quaker Steak & Lube locations are open for takeout and drive-thru.

Many businesses, in addition to closing their doors, have had to lay off workers in the wake of the pandemic, which has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to urge people to avoid person-to-person contact and groups of 50 or more for at least the next eight weeks.

Many companies are finding unique ways to help their employees through the pandemic, keep cash flowing and contributing to the larger effort to slow the spread of the pandemic.

Bacardi promised $3 million in financial aid and support to struggling food and drink businesses. Restaurant mogul Danny Meyer is foregoing his entire compensation so he can donate it to the Union Square Hospitality Group, which owns restaurants in New York.

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And help is coming from local business owners, too. Bryan Morin of JNew Jersey shore pizza shop Federico's didn’t want his staff to take a financial hit, so he took out a $50,000 line of credit and promised to keep his 20 employees on the payroll.

The number of Americans filing for unemployment surged to 3.28 million last week, shattering a decades-old record in jobless claims as the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses around the country to shutter their doors. The number eclipsed the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982 and is well above the levels seen in the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, the Labor Department said in its weekly report. The data dates back to 1967.

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