During the coronavirus outbreak, essential businesses are staying open such as healthcare, food, and more. However, truckers are thrown into that mix, too, as they continue to deliver goods to make sure others are well taken care of. According to Yahoo!, 3.5 million professional truckers are working tirelessly to ensure stores and businesses remain stocked for consumers.
Many truckers aren’t too concerned about getting sick, but their job may put them at risk for contracting it. Thankfully, they don’t come in contact with many other people while doing their job. Restrictions on certain stores remaining open or not have also made it difficult for truck drivers to even support themselves. Many of them have resorted to making dinner for themselves in their truck because restaurants are shut down. Additionally, many truck/rest stops have closed down in several states.
Truckers continue to deliver goods and make sure businesses are stocked
Trucker Lee Robertson is one of the many facing this outbreak head-on. At 56 years old, he and many others have become an essential part of keeping the nation running as smoothly as it can. “They told me that I’m essential personnel so don’t even think about getting sick,” he says with a laugh.
Despite everything, he says he’s proud to be helping out and the pay and job security are both worth it. Truckers can get paid up to $90,000 a year plus benefits. They’re one of the few who can say they’ve kept their jobs amid a time when thousands have had to file for unemployment.
“We are the lifeblood of the economy”
Todd Jadin is vice president of talent development and associate relations for Green Bay, Wisconsin-based Schneider. He emphasizes the importance of truck drivers during this time. “I think people, quite frankly, take truck drivers for granted when things are normal,” he says. “The work they do every day is that much more important right now.”
While factories and meat-packing plants are still fully operational, you may not be able to find what you’re looking for in stores, but truckers are still needed on the road. They’re doing the best they can. T.J. O’Connor, COO of Kansas-based trucking-and-logistics company YRC Worldwide, adds to the insight. “Look around the room and show me something that wasn’t on a truck at one time. We are the lifeblood of the economy. We are the lifeblood of the supply chain of North America.”
Ron Applegate has been a trucker since 1991. He’s proud of his work and is determined to carry it out, no matter what the cost. “If the good Lord wants me to get it, I’ll get it,” he says, referencing the virus. “I haven’t stopped since this all started. If the freight’s there, it’s got to move. [If] people are going to eat, the trucks are gonna move. [If] they need medical supplies, the trucks are gonna move. If we stop, the world stops.”