MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) — Truck drivers are still on the roads delivering essential goods.
The Minnesota Department of Transportation is pledging to keep truck rest stops open amid COVID-19, giving drivers a much-needed place to get food and sleep.
Minnesota Trucking Association President John Hausladen said every day, men and women work to deliver essential items, whether it’s food to grocery stores or emergency medical equipment to hospitals.
“If you’ve got it, a truck brought it, and that is really true, and you can really see that today," he said.
One challenge facing drivers who are out on the road right now is that some of the places they would normally stop are temporarily closed due to COVID-19.
“You can’t drive your truck and park it and just walk into a restaurant and sit down. You have to find a place to get takeout food. It took a while to get that adjustment. Just making sure you have a place to park your truck," Hausladen said.
In response, MnDOT is working to keep rest stops open.
“The folks that work there have had additional training and are doing a greater frequency of cleaning and disinfecting," MnDOT spokesperson Michael Dougherty said.
MnDOT is also reviewing plans to expand truck parking availability.
Last year, MnDOT completed a study finding that there is a shortage of truck parking, including right here in southern Minnesota.
“We are, you know, reviewing those plans again just seeing what the current directives are from the health experts, just exactly what can happen with those given the current situation that we’re in," said Dougherty.
Truck stops like Expressway, owned by Staples Enterprises, said they are determined to support all truckers through this crisis and for the long haul.
“In the truck industry as a whole, that’s kind of the backbone of what’s keeping the supply chain going across the United States," Dan Ortmann, director of retail operations for Staples Enterprises, said.
Hausladen said the truck driving industry is going to play a critical role in moving through the pandemic.
“We look forward to seeing what it looks like when we’re looking through the rearview mirror,” he said.
Information on truck parking availability can be found here.