Truckers pledge to help Canada fight COVID-19

LONDON, ONT. — With the border between Canada and the U.S. closed to non-essential traffic, those who are essential to commerce are reacting to the decision. On the bright side, transport drivers who spoke with CTV News to at a pair of London, Ont. truck stops say they look forward to smoother crossings with less traffic. But, that’s the only bright side.

Depending on which company they work for, some drivers are expecting to see U.S. border runs dry up, while other expects to be far busier. One of the latter is Jean Vachon, a long-haul truck driver from Quebec. He transports primarily meal-replacement shakes, which he says are becoming increasingly needed to strengthen the elderly and others at risk.

Vachon, who frequently visits multiple U.S. states and Canadian provinces, knows he’ll be passing through many areas where the COVID-19 virus is gaining a foothold. “I don’t feel I’m taking a risk,”, he says, but still, he’s in his late 50s, so he’s not taking too many chances. “We got gloves, hand sanitizers (in the truck cab).”

Vachon says drivers are starting to recognize their job is becoming essential to the fight against the virus, as medical supplies, groceries and industrial supplies need to keep moving. Donald Pollack, a Toronto-based transport driver with twenty years of experience, concurs. “Everyone’s got to do what they can do to make Canada safe and make it run on a day-to-day basis.”

And these drivers now hold a key puzzle piece in the fight we now all face. “Definitely, if we were to stay away from work, then it would be chaos,” Pollack adds. Drivers already feel self-isolated in their cabs, but as they get out at truck stops ,the risk increases.

One driver tells CTV News he will now simply, “cross my fingers,” and hope for best. Also hoping for the best, a German man and his wife who are travelling the world, stopped in a local truck stop parking lot. ‘Patrick’ who has a custom-made off-road vehicle and camper says he can’t get to the U.S. where he hoped to store it.

So, after travelling every corner of four continents for the past six years, the couple must find a way to Halifax in the hopes of shipping their truck back home and ending their journey temporarily, before finishing North and South America.

“We can’t risk COVID-19,” he concludes.

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