CORONAVIRUS UTAH

Demand For Groceries, Supplies Keeping Truckers Busy

Mar 23, 2020, 9:42 PM | Updated: 9:49 pm

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — Demand for groceries and other supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic has been keeping truck drivers busy from coast to coast.

For a lot of drivers, this has meant more time on the road and a steady income. But putting all those miles in isn’t necessarily all that easy, especially with the sudden lack of dining areas.

Restaurants across Utah have been ordered to close their dining rooms during the pandemic, leaving drivers like Roy Mitchell with few options.

“Can’t take an 18-wheeler through a drive-thru and they don’t want you walking up to it either,” said Mitchell, who was on his way to the Pacific Northwest. “I never take loads to Seattle, Washington, but I was trying to help out. It’s tough for us truck drivers because you can’t get any hot meals or nothing like that. It’s kind of tough, but you still got to keep it moving.”

Roy Mitchell has spent over a month-straight on the road, delivering loads to Texas, Washington and Florida.

Mitchell said he had just delivered a load to Texas and will head to Florida after Seattle, before returning home to North Carolina. Altogether, he will have spent a month-and-a-half on the road.

“When this happened, I decided to venture out more, just to help out,” he said. “I’m ready for a home-cooked meal now, haha.”

The restaurant closures are something all drivers are dealing with to some degree. Some are choosing to avoid the issue while practicing good social distancing.

“I got food with me,” said driver Sal Hassnawi. “My wife, she already packed me with a lot of food, so I take care of myself inside the truck.”

Truck driver Sal Hassnawi said his wife helped him stock on food before he left.

But as long as panic shopping continues, so will this heightened demand.

“Groceries, and supply like toilet paper, this stuff. Yeah, there’s demand,” Hassnawi said. “We are more busy than before, just because right now the coronavirus is hitting the country, so most people just keep staying at home.”

Eric Hysong said his usual drop at a Costco distribution center took much longer than usual, as the area was packed with semitrailers.

“I haven’t seen it that busy,” he said. “It was hundreds of trucks. Normally, your appointment time…you’re in there at your appointment time, an hour or so later, you’re out of there. Today was, wasn’t even close.”

Eric Hysong said his trip to a Costco distribution center took hours longer than normal this week.

In the meantime, Mitchell said with lockdowns in different parts of the country, he’s worried if he’ll be able to make it home in a week as planned.

“Hopefully be back home Monday,” he said. “That’s if in Seattle, they take the load. The problem we’re having now is there’s nobody to take the load. So if they sitting down with nobody working, then we are stranded there until we get rid of that load.”

Several drivers who haul a lot of the non-grocery items said not much has changed for them and it appears to be business as usual.

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Demand For Groceries, Supplies Keeping Truckers Busy