SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — Panic buying surrounding the coronavirus has cleared store shelves of vital items such as toilet paper and food.
Businesses are working to replenish their stock, but it takes truck drivers to move all of that product. So, what precautions are truckers taking to prevent spread themselves?
Truckers KUTV spoke with say they already practice social distancing by spending most of their time in their truck, and that they haven’t noticed any new policies.
The Utah Trucking Association says some companies have new protocols in place while drivers are crisscrossing the country and could potentially spread something.
The biggest change? Temperatures of truck drivers are being taken at the border to Canada to try and catch anyone who might have the virus.
Kevin Toney, who’s been driving trucks for the last five months, says his business is picking up:
The freight moves constantly. Right now, there’s real high demand for certain items.
Toney says so far, he hasn’t received any new directives on how to stop the spread of coronavirus:
I haven’t gotten any different procedures we must go through. Not to say it’s not coming.
KUTV caught up with Toney during a “mandatory reset” when a driver has to be off the road for 34 hours before heading out again.
He says drivers are working as much as the DOT allows to help fill empty shelves.
“Creating a lot more loads for the drivers that are already on the road,” Toney said.
But, while coronavirus has kept some drivers busy, others have gone bust.
Davor Kovacevic, owner of V and M logistics, says:
Trying to do everything right now just to survive.
Kovacevic says when the virus hit China hard, imports slowed down. So did the loads they’d usually be carrying. Kovacevic says:
It started in like the beginning of January, and every week it gets worse and worse.
KUTV spoke with the Utah Trucking Association, they say those driving loads of food and grocery items are busier, but other types of loads have slowed down considerably with fewer and fewer orders being placed.
Davor says he’s having to speak with his financiers, hoping to catch a break to keep them afloat.
“It is coming to the point where we cannot afford it. The insurance is too high, we have payments coming, the maintenance is too high. We’re just trying to make a deal with anybody” he said.