The trucking industry has been on the front lines in the battle to distribute resources during the COVID-19 pandemic. A northwest Iowa company has continued trucking food in its refrigerated trucks to customers in 48 states.
Sheila Schichtl with Holiday Express in Estherville says that means drivers have had to go to parts of the country hit hard by the virus.
“They don’t really want to get out of their trucks too much,” she says. “…We’re trying to remind them to stay in their truck as much as possible when they get into those hot spots.”
One of the company’s drivers makes deliveries to New York City.
“He’s actually chosen not to go home to his wife or his children over these last two weeks,” Schichtl says. “He just didn’t want to put them in harm’s way and I just think how difficult that must be and I feel bad and yet I respect what he’s doing as well.”
A concern for all the truckers is getting the paperwork necessary for deliveries. Schichtl says the DOT is allowing truckers to maintain electronic records, but drivers still have to get a signature.
“They can wear a rubber glove or they can continue to use the hand sanitizer to keep them safe that way,” she says.
Schichtl says many of the company’s drivers are carrying their own food because the trucks are equipped with a refrigerator. That means drivers aren’t dependent on the limited drive-thru options along the nation’s interstates and highways.
“They’re trying to be as cautious that way as possible, but they still are getting out for personal hygiene to shower, what have you,” Schichtl says. “No one has voiced a big concern. They’re still trying to practice that social distancing and they have come to learn what places to stop and what places to avoid because maybe that social distancing can’t take place.”
Schichtl says none of the company’s truckers are reporting any type of an illness.
(By Ed Funston, KILR, Estherville/Photo from Holiday Express website.)