Motorway services open for business as lockdown lifts

Motorway service area at night

Motorway service areas have remained open throughout the coronavirus lockdown, but often with reduced facilities and shorter opening hours. Now many are increasing the services available, with fast-food and coffee outlets serving takeaway orders

Motorways and major roads provide crucial links for key workers, even as many others continue to work at home. Highways England is committed to keeping motorway service areas open, albeit still with a reduced service.

As this table shows, all services are open 24/7, with a partial site closure in a minority of cases.

Transport Focus said ‘lorry drivers delivering goods, NHS volunteers taking medical supplies around the country and others making essential journeys will still need to rest, refuel, go to the toilet and have something to eat and drink.

‘Without [motorways] open there would be very little on the supermarket shelves.’

Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, also asked motorway services to remain open during the lockdown period. 

How are motorway service operators helping?

Southwaite services sign

There are four major motorway service operators: Moto, Roadchef, Welcome Break and Extra, plus the smaller operators Westmorland, Stop24 and Euro Garages.

At the time of writing (1 June 2020), this is their position on the coronavirus outbreak.


As the tweet above states, Moto has donated 10,000 free hot meals to HGV drivers during the lockdown period. Many of its food and drink outlets, including Costa Coffee and Burger King, are now open for takeaway orders.

Free fuel is also available to all emergency services at the 46 BP forecourts in the Moto network. The offer began on 21 March and runs to 7 June, and is open to NHS emergency ambulance services, NHS Trust non-emergency vehicles, local police and fire authorities. Click here for full terms and conditions.


Roadchef showers, toilets and retail stores remain open, with hot drinks, food and other essentials available. The operator has increased the frequency of contact surface sanitising in its dining, retail and toilet facilities.

Free parking has doubled to four hours and the 24-hour parking rate is reduced to £15. Also, drive-thru Costa Coffee sites have reopened at Clacket Lane (M25), Strensham (M5) and Rownhams (M27).

Welcome Break

Welcome Break CEO John Diviney said: “In these uncertain times some of us still need to be on the move. I wanted you to know that all our locations are still open, clean and continuing to serve the nation’s motorists. Please be assured we are following government guidance to keep you and all our team members safe and well.”

Blue Light & Defence discount card holders and NHS staff get 50 percent off at Welcome Break’s Waitrose and WHSmith stores. Burger King, KFC and Starbucks have also reopened for takeaway orders.


A limited amount of food outlets are open for takeaway only. All Extra filling stations and toilet/washroom facilities remain open 24/7.


Westmorland, which operates motorway services areas at Tebay and Gloucester, is operating a reduced service. The filling stations remain open 24/7 and will offer an increased range of products from the farm shop.

Toilets in the main building are open 10am until 3pm, while the kitchens, farm shops and butcheries are closed. Fast-food outlets such as Burger King have reopened, however.

Euro Garages

Euro Garages is offering a free Starbucks hot drink to all NHS staff and the emergency services.


Stop24 Folkestone Services is located at junction 11 of the M20 and is the closest motorway service area to the Channel Tunnel and Port of Dover.

The filling station and main building remain open, but a limited range of food and drink is available. The convenience store is open, but seating areas are shut. All toilet, washroom and shower facilities are open for lorry, car and motorhome drivers.

For the latest information, visit the Traffic England website

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *