- 1 Truckers Exempt Mask Requirement
- 2 What The Order Meant
- 3 Expectations: What to Expect
- 4 Exempt but Must Follow Other Laws
- 5 When Did It Take Effect?
- 6 Truckers in the Third Group for the Vaccine Deployment
- 7 Mask Mandates Blocked by Trump
- 8 Enforcing a Mask Policy Protects Our People
- 9 How Has the Pandemic Changed Trucking?
- 10 Taking Action Against a Deadly Virus
- 11 Entering Federal Property?
Truckers Exempt Mask Requirement
Truckers exempt mask requirement from the CDC when the drive alone but will need to wear a mask if others are in the cab riding along. On January 29, the CDC issued an executive order that all interstate travel would now require masks. The order came at a time where COVID-19 numbers had reached an all-time high. The Biden administration wanted to slow the spread of COVID-19 through the new mask mandates.
What The Order Meant
On January 21, President Biden issued that all workers and travelers must wear a mask at transportation hubs, airports, US ports of entry, buses, and trains. Public maritime vessels such as ferries required masks too. Provided the driver was the sole occupant, they don’t have to wear a mask. You must still comply with the rules of masks at private facilities, such as shipper and receiver ports.
Expectations: What to Expect
All transportation hubs under the Biden administration must now encourage masking. Anyone who enters the hub must wear it. Anyone who refuses to put on a mask can’t enter. Individuals who refuse to wear a mask have violated federal law, and they may face fines for it. Following the laws eliminate the risk of a fine.
Exempt but Must Follow Other Laws
While solo truckers exempt mask requirements in the truck, they should understand how they need to follow the other laws. For example, drivers who enter seaports and airports must still wear masks.
The coronavirus, a respiratory illness, can cause dangerous complications in some people. People at the highest risk for complications include:
- The elderly
- People with medication conditions
- Individuals who are obese
The order came with an 11-page booklet outlining the details. Truckers who have passengers in the truck with them will both have to wear a COVID mask.
When Did It Take Effect?
This new law from the CDC took effect on February 1, 2021. The masks must cover the nose and mouth. Since President Biden took office, the number of daily COVID cases has dropped dramatically. As of February 4, they recorded 126,842 new cases compared to its peak at 300,594 new cases on January 8, 2021, before Biden took office. The stricter measures with greater government unity on the issue could be part of the reason for a decrease in cases. That and the rolling out of the vaccine has helped as well.
Truckers in the Third Group for the Vaccine Deployment
Truckers were in the third group for the deployment of the vaccine. The first people to receive the vaccine were healthcare personnel and residents at long-term care facilities. Essential workers such as those in the trucking industry ranked third on the list for vaccination. The trucking industry receives this status because of its importance to the US economy. Without them, the economy wouldn’t run as smoothly. The success of our COVID-19 response depends on truckers and the transportation industry.
Mask Mandates Blocked by Trump
What we have seen with the new administration is a more harmonious response. You have a united front against COVID-19 with masks, rather than turning it into a foolish political debate. Back in August, the CDC wanted to impose new mask requirements, but Trump blocked the order. Trump’s refusal to take action against the virus that has killed 400,000 people is astounding. As soon as President Biden took office, the language around masks changed. He talked about wearing a COVID mask as saving millions of lives. The new mask rules will allow people to travel and work safely while slowing the virus’s spread.
Truckers exempt mask requirements remain among the few exempted from this law. Almost everyone must wear masks to travel. You only have a couple of exceptions, such as people in private cars and solo truck drivers. Individuals who have a disability can avoid wearing masks.
Enforcing a Mask Policy Protects Our People
President Biden has said that wearing a mask is patriotic. It protects our people from catching COVID. The greater strictness has been seen throughout. However, some have thought the airline industry could go farther with masks and required all passengers to wear N95s and KN95s. They also wanted to see more enforcement of social distancing and temperature checks at airports. Based on the current order, people can still wear homemade masks.
How Has the Pandemic Changed Trucking?
Trucking has changed during the pandemic because truckers have become increasingly isolated. The job has always had an element of solitude, but it became even more during the pandemic. Going to a truck stop, you used to socialize with other truckers at the restaurant, but they now have a limited number of truckers who can go in. Another new restriction has been with the products. In some parts of the country, if you touch it, you bought it. They implemented this to stop the spread of COVID.
Already being isolated on the job, you have some truckers who have dealt with mental health issues because of greater loneliness on the road.
Taking Action Against a Deadly Virus
President Biden has also begun a new project to issue masks to all Americans via mail. The only issue with it comes from how you can’t force people to wear them while you can send out masks. If a person can’t afford to buy a cheap mask to protect their lives, sending one out won’t necessarily protect them.
Entering Federal Property?
If you drive your truck onto federal property, you still have to wear a mask. For example, driving up on a military facility requires you to put on a mask. The advantage here, however, is that you only have to wear it while on the property. Penalties weren’t specified for those who don’t wear a mask, but it would be wise if you did wear it. A fearful public that has received mixed messages on the masks has led to the disaster that we currently face. More decisive leadership early on could have staved off part of the accelerating spread from COVID-19.
Even during the best of times, life on the road has the potential to challenge truckers. COVID-19 added a new dimension of difficulty because they have to be alone even more. Some truckers go for weeks or even months without going home and seeing family. Throughout the pandemic, truckers haven’t had to wear masks when in the truck solo. Only for a brief period were they required to wear the masks. At the beginning of the pandemic, DOT did a great job at fixing policies quickly that wasn’t effective, but it still left a lot to be desired.
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