Free coffee returns to a rest area near you this weekend
The free coffee is back. After a two-year pandemic break, you can finally get a free cup at your favorite rest area.
This is one of the more popular programs in the state. It allows volunteer groups to provide free coffee and water at 34 of the 47 rest areas. The other 13 are a little too remote to make a good spot for volunteer groups to spread their messages, raise donations and provide some coffee and conversation. The Washington State Department of Transportation’s Barbara LaBoe said the program was shut-down to keep Covid in check. “It had been on hold just because of the pandemic and safety concerns,” she said.
LaBoe said the conditions have changed enough to allow the volunteers back inside the kiosks, but the volunteer groups must provide proof that their workers are vaccinated. “We needed to make sure that we had a good process in place and that we knew it would be safe and that levels were down enough and precautions had changed enough to make this a workable solution,” she said.
Volunteers on state land are still subject to vaccine mandates under the Governor’s emergency order. Masking is not required. “Because it’s outdoors, there will not be a mask requirement,” LaBoe said. “Certainly that’s optional and voluntary. Whatever people feel comfortable with they should do.”
Starting on Friday, you will start seeing the free coffee signs showing up at rest areas. LaBoe said it could be hit or miss for a while as volunteer groups apply and get prepped. “Not every site will be staffed every single day, but they do put out signs,” LaBoe said. “If you’re stopping at a rest area and you see that sign, you know you can come by and get a cup of coffee.”
LaBoe sayid the free coffee program is a great addition to the rest areas and their mission to keep the roads clear of drowsy drivers. “If you ever feel like you are dozing-off or too tired, our message is always to find a safe place to stop and take a rest.”
Many volunteer groups do a majority of their yearly fundraising with this program.