‘Business as usual’: B.C. truckers crossing U.S. border despite COVID-19

Fraser Valley truckers still crossing U.S. borders but will be asked to self-quarantine during days home

Despite health officials asking British Columbians to not leave the country “it’s business as usual” for Fraser Valley trucking companies, as goods continue to cross the B.C.-Washington State border.

That’s according to the president of the B.C. Trucking Association, David Earle, whose advocacy organization represents 12,000 fleets from 400 trucking companies across the province.

There hasn’t been any decrease in truckers crossing, he said, even with news on Thursday from Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry that residents should self-isolate for 14 days upon their return from any U.S. travel. due to the recent spread of COVID-19.

Henry clarified that truckers are exempt from this week’s sweeping travel advisory, and should have their own systems for hygiene and symptom-assessment.

In response, Earle responded “the B.C. government does not have the authority to stop cross-border travel.”

B.C. Premier John Horgan is putting pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to increase federal restrictions on land border crossings and “up their game,” Horgan told reporters Friday.

RELATED: B.C. calls on Trudeau to tighten border crossings for COVID-19

The Langley-based trucking association has been working to draft a “best practices” model for tens of thousands of truck drivers who will make the drive to-and-from the U.S. – many through Washington State which currently has more than 550 confirmed infections.

The job is contingent upon a practice that’s risen in popularity since COVID-19 has infected more than 60 in B.C.

“Social distancing,” Earle elaborated. “It’s 99 per cent of the job for truck drivers. They’re almost always isolated in their trucks.”

The trucking protocol – which is being created with agreement from B.C. governing bodies – is asking truckers to voluntarily quarantine themselves on days off after trips to the U.S., Earle elaborated.

The guidelines also recommend that truckers regularly clean their vehicles, equipment, and hands with sanitary supplies provided from their company.

Earle wants it to ensure the safety of all B.C. drivers, he said. The protocol is still subject to approval from B.C.’s Emergency Health Services (EHS).

READ MORE: B.C. recommends no travel outside Canada amid Coronavirus pandemic

If the frequency of cross-border travel hasn’t changed for Fraser Valley truckers since the spike of COVID-19 transmissions in B.C – then what has?

Questions truckers are being asked by U.S. and Canadian border guards, Earle answered.

They include: “Where have you been? How are you feeling?”

Canada’s Border Services Agency (CBSA) spokesperson Judith Gadbois-St-Cyr said such screening measures are used to assess potential health risks of travellers being processed.

“Entry screening alone is not a guarantee against the possible spread of this new virus,” Gadbois-St-Cyr admitted.

“But is an important public health tool during periods of uncertainty and part of a multilayered government response strategy.”


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

FVRL launches online library cards

FVRL’s services have evolved

Abbotsford family of 5 who was stuck in Vietnam is now back home

Janzen family sends ‘huge and heartfelt’ thank you to everyone who helped

Man who tries to start gas-station fight gets sprayed with gasoline

Suspect returns with knife but is quickly arrested by Abbotsford police

Future is an unknown for Mission food banks

Charitable organizations are managing for now, but fear donations may slow while demands increase

Abbotsford’s Menno Place asks for donations of protective equipment for staff

B.C.’s largest senior care facility houses 700 residents and employs 700 staff

Trudeau rejects mandatory stay-at-home order for now; COVID deaths up

The virus has now infected more than 10,000 Canadians and cost 130 their lives

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Tax collectors, auditors to help field ‘historic’ numbers of benefit-seeking callers

‘If you work for CRA, people think we are just there to take money from your pockets.’

Cowichan couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

Family uses social media to help truckers find places to eat during pandemic

Restaurants Serving Drivers in Western Canada seeks to provide a list of places open for drivers

Advocates sound alarm over COVID-19 limiting access to contraceptives, abortion

The COVID-19 outbreak has hit sexual-health services from almost every angle

Celebrate Easter in a ‘safe way,’ Dr. Henry urges as B.C records 6 new COVID-19 deaths

Top doctor urges British Columbians to halt non-essential travel within the province

B.C. health officer says homemade masks may prevent spread of COVID-19 to others

Practising physical distancing, frequent hand washing and resisting touching your face are proven methods

Most Read