NASHVILLE, Tennessee (WKRN) — The trucking industry could be key to keeping the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Truckers are working hard to keep goods flowing while in a dire situation as supplies continue to run low. Drivers are putting in overtime so they can travel across the country and help keep stores stocked.
But their main concern is where can they go to get rest and food?
There are now fewer options for truckers to eat when they take a break. Restaurants have allowed for more drive-thru and delivery options, but there are still limited choices for those driving a semitrailer truck. Gas stations and grocery stores are convenient, but most shelves are empty.
“I do feel like that over time, you’ll see that after the initial scare, things will get back to normal. We’ll have water, we’ll have food. It’s just a matter of time, you know it’s gonna take a few days to get that back on track,” explained Donna England, VP of Safety and Member Services, Tennessee Trucking Association.
The Department of Transportation loosened restrictions on how long drivers can be on the road each day so supplies can be hauled quickly, but it’s putting more pressure on them. Truckers fear their health is at risk, but rest areas that are still open are doing their best to increase sanitation.
“Some of the truck stops are telling us that they are making sure that they’re keeping the lounges, limiting the numbers of drivers that are in the lounges and making sure that they’re closing the lounges if they need to. They’re also closing all the buffet-style food that’s being served,” said England.
The American Trucking Association is calling on the government to make sure they keep rest stops open and provide guidance for the health of drivers, including possible testing for COVID-19.
Most patients with COVID-19 have a mild respiratory illness including fever, cough and shortness of breath. People are encouraged to wash their hands often with soap and water and to not touch their eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
The CDC recommends that for the next eight week, organizers (whether groups or individuals) cancel or postpone in-person events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States.
High-risk individuals are defined as adults over 60 years old or people of any age with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease.