Truck Driver Challenges In A Pandemic: Getting Food, Loading & ‘Campers Everywhere’

Mar 25, 2020

Credit rgaudet17 via Pixabay

As COVID-19 spreads across the country and states order restaurants to close to in-person dining, truck drivers are facing new challenges in getting food to eat while on the road.

Greg Hill has been driving on and off since 1994. He said with restaurant lobbies closed, truck drivers have to think further ahead and get food to-go.

Last week Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear signed an executive order closing all restaurants and bars to in-person traffic; drive-throughs are an exception. But truck drivers can’t pull through drive-throughs and most fast food restaurants have policies against taking orders from people on foot. Hill said some fast food places have started to ignore this policy. 

“They are doing that. I’ve used it twice myself at a Wendy’s,” he said. “You just walk up to the window and if somebody don’t see you, just knock on it and they’ll come up to you and take care of you. That’s not a problem anymore.” 

Jeff Cullop has been a truck driver for eight years. He cooks at home and packs his food for the road. He offered another option for drivers at the drive-through:

“If you’re at a fast food place you might have to ask another person like a car in the drive-thru to get it for you. And hope they don’t run off with your money and your food.” 

Cullop is preparing for a trip to Washington. He said he’s aware of the state’s situation with COVID-19 and has packed hand sanitizer, wipes and Lysol for the drive.

“I guess it comes in handy because you’ve got to spray the pumps when you get fuel and stuff like that,” he said. 

Collup said he just completed a delivery where the receiving building was taking precautions against the virus. He said the place had six-foot distances marked out to promote social distancing and had hand sanitizer readily available. 

Hill said the time it takes to get the trucks loaded and unloaded is a lot longer now.

“Usually you’re two hours in and out,” he said. “I stayed at a place the other day for six-and-a-half hours waiting to get loaded. That was food product, too.”

Hill said places have more orders and trucks coming in. He said things that would usually go into storage are now going straight to shelves.

Hill also said traffic seems worse in the daytime. He said some people are out in campers trying to get away from the house.

“They’re clogging up the roads. I’ve seen for every state just started today campers everywhere.”

Cullop drives from western Kentucky to Portland, Oregon every other week. He said he sees campers all the time and is surprised at how many people are on the road. 

Collup said every state has an overhead sign on the highways that says ‘stay home.’ Governor Andy Beshear is encouraging Kentuckians to stay ‘Healthy at Home.’ Collup said he thinks everyone is pretty aware of the expectations. 

Hill said everyone needs to be patient and work together to get through the pandemic.