ALBION — If you’re headed out to pick up a coffee or fountain drink at your local gas station, you may find that they’re shut off.

They weren’t ever shut down before, but a recent interpretation of Indiana’s reopening executive order has led to local health departments advising gas stations and other locations to stop drinks from flowing.

So, for the moment, hit the coolers for a bottled drink or head to the coffee shop instead if you need your caffeine fix.

In Gov. Eric Holcomb’s Executive Order 20-26, signed and put into effect on May 1, the order includes a section under the “Restaurant” title addressing how restaurants could reopen as part of Stage 2 of Indiana’s five-step “Back on Track” plan.

Under a subsection “Social Distancing and Other Sanitation Mitigation Measures” there’s a line included: “Self-service stations (salad bars, beverage stations, etc.) are not permitted.”

Noble County Health Department food sanitation officer Linda Gray said Tuesday that the state food service office had just clarified that gas stations and other locations offering self-service stations — think grocery store salad bar — should also be complying by that rule.

That led to local businesses having to shut off their popular caffeine-delivery stations for coffee and sodas.

“In the Executive Order 26 it says that self-serve areas are supposed to be closed down, shut down. The governor said no salad bars, no buffets, no self-serve drink stations to be open. We were unclear when he put that in his executive order if that meant gas stations also,” Gray said.

“It makes it bad because people go in there to get coffee,” she said. “As of right now, you can’t use the self-serve dispenser.”

Requests for information and clarification made to the governor’s office and the Indiana State Department of Health’s Joint Information Center were not returned.

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