One thing the coronavirus has made abundantly clear is that certain occupations simply cannot take a break because they are too vital to the people of this country to keep everything moving. Of these, doctors, nurses, and other workers in the health industry are the heroes fighting the enemy on the front line for those who have contracted the virus. Then there are those who are keeping the shelves stocked so we have food and other necessities to keep the rest of the country going during the crisis. We’re grateful for all of them.
However, there’s one group of workers behind the curtain that make all of that possible, those who supply food for the shelves and medical supplies for hospitals―truck drivers.
Truck drivers truly are the backbone of our country and without them, everything would grind to a halt. Throughout the pandemic, drivers are putting in long hours and facing possible exposure to the virus, all so essential workers can do their essential work. Our entire infrastructure relies on them.
Difficulties on the Road
Life on the road in the shadow of the coronavirus has become more complicated for drivers. Essential freight is still moving so for drivers hauling food and hospital supplies, work is plentiful. But with the construction industry coming to a halt, and stores and small businesses deemed non-essential shuttering their doors, drivers who haul goods to these businesses are struggling.
For drivers still out on the road, dine-in restaurants at truck stops have closed, leaving weary drivers with no place to relax and recharge outside of their truck. Some have been able to leave their showers and laundry services open for drivers. Some have closed altogether. With fast-food restaurants closing their dining rooms, drivers have had to adjust their eating habits. Trucks don’t fit through the drive-thru lanes and if they park and walk up to the window, some refuse to serve them. Palmdale Sheriff’s office tweeted: “If you happen to be sitting in your car eating because the dining room is closed, & see a truck driver attempt to pull on a door, please ask if you can buy them a meal. Most places do not allow walk ups, and their rigs usually don’t fit. We owe them that much!”
Because meals are unpredictable, more drivers are now bringing their own food on the road and preparing it with their own microwaves, cookers, and coffee makers.
Relief May Be On the Way
A proposal by Senate Democrats for a COVID- 19 Heroes Fund would provide eligible front line workers up to $25,000 in hazard pay for those deemed essential during the crisis such as medical workers, truck drivers, grocers, transit workers, and essential federal employees. While still in its early stages, this proposal speaks for many who believe something needs to be done for the dedicated workers who put themselves in harm’s way every day. In the meantime, we wait for the curve to flatten.
Through this crisis and the economic recovery when it follows, drivers are unsung heroes. So when people talk of the heroic front line, remember where their supplies are coming from. And the next time you reach for a new roll of toilet paper, thank a truck driver!
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