‘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

Nine new COVID-19 cases announced in Interior Health region

The total number of cases since the pandemic started is now at 531 for the region

Two ways to celebrate Business Excellence Awards this Saturday in Penticton

Chamber offers in-person and virtual options to congratulate business and community leaders

South Okanagan businesses surveyed on impact of COVID-19 during summer

Hospitality businesses are being asked to fill out a questionnaire

RCMP seeking witnesses to fatal Peachland motorcycle crash on Highway 97

One person died following a motorcycle crash south of Peachland on Sunday afternoon

Out of character for Okanagan woman to go missing

Karee Lynn Kamis, 64, was last seen in Penticton on Sept. 18

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Motorcycle rider identified following fatal crash in Peachland

Michael Odenbach died in a motorcycle collision on Sept. 27

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

Shuswap BC SPCA launches spay/neuter program for low-income residents

Program available to low-income residents in the region

More victims possible in Okanagan assault case

Vernon police have a man in custody but feel there could be more victims in the case

Most Read