‘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

Schools get creative to provide food to students

Initiatives underway include providing gift cards

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read