NewsHillsborough County


Vital trucking industry rolls on during panademic

Posted at 5:56 PM, Mar 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 19:03:15-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- During this global pandemic, the trucking industry is more important than ever.

Deliveries of food and fuel are keeping all going.

"People need to stay home. I wish I could stay home, but I'm working," said professional truck driver Gloria Salazar.

Salazar is dealing with the challenges of being a truck driver during this coronavirus outbreak.

Although she says already used to the isolation.

"We pretty much live in our trucks," Salazar said.

Some truck stops are closed, others are no longer serving hot food.

Gloria is cooking her own on a camping stove wherever she stops.

"All this stuff that people are carrying around and not giving themselves that social distance because I notice that people are still not practicing that," she said. "So, I try and take care of myself."

Officials from Pilot Flying J Travel Centers say they are committed to staying open and are taking several precautions to limit potential exposure, including extra cleanings and closing all self-serve food stations.

Keith Simes says he still able to do business as usual.

"The roads are still traveled. Maybe not as heavy as they have been. But everybody is still out doing their thing," said Simes.

Some truckers say they are feeling the love from people appreciative of what they are doing to keep the shelves stocked.

But they are dealing with extra precautions too, like having to wait in their cabs while others unload their cargo.

"I see a lot of drivers that are stressed. And even companies where we deliver some of the goods," said Salazar.

"It could go two ways. I think it's nuts. But at the same time, everybody wants to be as safe as they can," said Simes.

There's been a shortage of truckers in recent years, and now they are needed more than ever.