A trucker’s worry: how the pandemic could affect more than deliveries

Friday, March 20, 2020
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

(Source:WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- Many grocery store chains have changed their hours so employees have more time to clean and re-stock the shelves. With more shut downs due to the coronavirus, it is starting to affect the people who deliver those essentials to your fridge.

It’s normally smooth sailing on the interstate, but now things aren’t so good when truckers need to pull over.

"Well, the traffic's been good,” Robert Baumert, a trucker, said. "Pennsylvania shut down all rest stops. You know, they did open up 13 of them but they didn't actually open up the bathrooms just the parking area.

Bathroom access is only one issue. Drivers can’t take their semis through the drive-thrus, so with dining rooms for most restaurants closed, grabbing a bite to eat isn’t an option.

"I still got to get my delivery where it's gonna go, but I'm still running into these obstacles, of not being able to find anywhere to park, you know, because they're closing roadside rest stops,” Baumert said.

And an employee at a local truck shop -- who wants to stay anonymous -- has another worry.

"The biggest issue that we're facing is the fact that these drivers are basically able to travel all the way across the country without being tested,” the employee said.

President Trump’s declaration that closed the border with Mexico today for ‘non-essential travel’ also causes some worry for drivers. Now that the borders of Mexico and Canada are closed, it could slow some deliveries down.

But drivers just want to do their job.

“And all that stuff it takes away from our drive time which takes away from getting the toilet paper to Walmart or you know whatever the case may be,” a public trucker said.

Baumert says the law only lets truckers drive 11 hours each day. While truckers need to take care of themselves while working, they also want to make sure our fridges stay filled.

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