COVID-19 impacting Tri-Cities trucking industry

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BAILEYTON, Tenn. (WJHL) – Truckers play an important role in our battle against coronavirus, delivering critical supplies to medical personnel and our supplies for daily living.

News Channel 11’s Blake Lipton stopped by the TA Truck Service Center in Baileyton Thursday and found out the COVID-19 pandemic is both hurting and helping the industry.

“You touch something, you getting gas, they talk to us like we’re animals and it’s hard to get something to eat out here,” said Terrell Harper, “it’s a big difference man.”

With restaurant operations constantly changing, Harper said it’s hard to grab a bite to eat.*

“If the restaurant or truck stop is closed, then we pretty much have to do without because they’ve got the drive-thrus open,” he said, “but as a truck driver, you can’t pull your truck up to the drive-thru.”

Others are seeing problems at rest areas.

“It’s kind of hard to get supplies from any stores and they got all the rest areas closed,” said Steven Howard, “it’s hard to find somewhere to park when it’s time to take your break.”

Shaun MacGruder is seeing price fluctuations as well.

“It’s just the price is going up and down, but it’s more loads because there’s more deliveries that need to be made,” said MacGruder. “We’re only allowed to drive a certain amount of hours, so I’m assuming they’re letting us drive unpaid, but I still have electronic logs.”

Bruce Richardson hasn’t seen much of a difference.

“Well I haven’t seen it really impact truck driving badly yet, but I do know that the people who are hauling regular grocery freight, there restrictions for e-log has been lifted off because they’re trying to keep up with the demand of what is needed in the stores right now,” said Richardson.

Richardson said while it’s important to take the proper precautions, people are worrying too much.

“They’re not putting their faith and trust in God, they’re not leaving it up to Him and if they would get on their knees and they would seek the Lord, which is what He wants, He can stop everything,” he said.

Richardson added more people should worry about getting supplies for those more at risk to contracting the virus, including the elderly.

Truck Driver also said there seems to be fear from people that they are carrying the virus since they’re traveling across country.

Harper wants to remind people that they are spending most of their time isolated in their vehicles.

*NOTE: While the truck drivers in this story were discussing their experiences at truck stops and rest stops in general, we want to clarify that the TA Service Center in Baileyton is still operating all of its food offerings and other services.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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