NASHVILLE, Tenn. (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 semi-truck. Gas stations and grocery stores are convenient, but most shelves are empty.
Despite fearing that their health is at risk, they are trying to stay positive.
“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. There are limited food options for them, since most shelves at grocery stores and gas stations are empty and some rest stops are closed. 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.