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Truckers ready for a different border experience as closure looms due to COVID-19

Last Updated Mar 19, 2020 at 11:02 am PDT

U.S. and Canadian flags fly in Point Roberts, Wash., on Tuesday March 13, 2012. President Donald Trump is confirming that the Canada-U.S. border will be closed "by mutual consent" to non-essential traffic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Summary

B.C. Trucking Association says members not really concerned about imminent closure of border to non-essential traffic

Truckers have been told to expect enhanced medial screenings coming into and leaving Canada

Truck drivers transporting cargo are among those exempt from the ban on non-essential traffic across the border

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – With the imminent closure of the Canada-U.S. border for non-commercial traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic, people in the trucking industry say they’re not concerned with what’s about to happen.

The head of the B.C. Trucking Association says he’s been told to expect additional medical screening for drivers going across, but that these measures shouldn’t result in any significant delays.

“Certainly, there will be additional checks, but honestly, there’s going to be additional officers available to be able to do that work because they’re not going to be doing that discretionary travel work,” Association President Dave Earle tells NEWS 1130. “And at this point, we’re really operating on that, while it’s certainly not business as normal, business will certainly continue.”

The association is expecting enhanced medical screenings for drivers heading in both directions – north and south across the border – as part of the measures to ensure they aren’t exhibiting any of the symptoms of COVID-19.

“We do have levels of clarity from both levels of government and both border agencies in terms of eligibility to go,” Earle adds.

He says anyone concerned about supply chains shouldn’t have any worries — they are in good shape.

The border shutdown is one of many measures the federal governments in Canada and the U.S. are taking to try and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Truck drivers, Canadians and Americans who cross the border for essential work or other “urgent” reasons, as well as some others will be exempt from the closure.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was expected the border would close sometime between Friday night and Saturday morning.

How long the closure would last, however, is still unclear.

“We’ve heard anything from weeks to months,” Trudeau said. “We know this is a difficult and extraordinary time in which Canadians are taking difficult and extraordinary measures, and we will continue to do that until Canadians are safe.”

The details are still being worked out between both the Canadian and U.S. governments.