From shelter-in-place orders to protective equipment requests, people around the globe are turning to their local and federal governments for help navigating through the pandemic that has resulted in over 3.3 million cases worldwide as of May 1. Truckers are no different.
At a White House event honoring truckers this April, President Trump, Secretary of Transportation Elaine Cho, and American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear expressed their immense gratitude toward truckers and all the incredible work they’ve put in delivering vital supplies across the country. In a recent interview, Spear stated that the trucking industry will play a vital role in the development and implementation of plans to restart the country’s struggling economy. Spear also stated that the carrier CEOs participating in economic conversations thoroughly understand the economy from local, regional, state, and national perspectives.
With recent developments and an emphasis on how essential the trucking industry is to the economy, we wanted to take some time to explore a few key ways the U.S. and Canadian governments are working to show truckers just how much they — and their protection and livelihoods — matter.
In the U.S.
On April 30, the FMCSA announced they would be assisting in the distribution of one million protective masks to the nation’s commercial truck drivers. The masks, provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), are being distributed throughout the U.S. regions in areas frequented by truckers, including California, New York, and Texas. With a shortage of protective equipment in the U.S., this assistance from FEMA and the FMCSA comes at a much-needed time.
Truckers can reference this full list of dates, times, and locations provided by the FMCSA on when and where they can collect protective masks. Further dates and times will be added to the list as they are established.
The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) recently informed the Canadian Trucking Alliance that the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) was directing the CBSA to implement a policy requiring all essential workers crossing the border to wear a non-medical mask or face covering. The PHAC also stated that drivers must be provided with medical masks should they not have access to them. The Canadian Trucking Alliance was also told that no drivers will be turned away at the border due to this new policy, and drivers will be provided with a mask at the border should they not have one.
In addition, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently announced that a 75% wage subsidy would extend to any business facing at least a 30% COVID-19-related revenue plunge. In his statement to the press, Trudeau said that trucking companies could qualify. He highlighted Energy Transportation Group — a Quebec-based transportation and logistics company — as a potential beneficiary of the program. The application for the emergency wage subsidy opened April 27.
We hope these recent announcements serve to shed a ray of hope to those on the front lines in the trucking industry. Be sure to also read up on how the U.S. and Canadian governments are easing Hours of Service restrictions for truck drivers delivering vital COVID-19 relief, and continue checking back in for relevant COVID-19 topics on our Road Ahead Blog every week!