PortandTerminal.com, July 16, 2020
Canadian truckers who haul are warning the Canadian government to keep the border closed to non-essential visitors. This is what they’re saying.
TORONTO – America’s border with its northern neighbor Canada remains closed to all but essential traffic until at least late August and possibly longer. Cargo though still needs to move across the border which makes trucking essential traffic and truckers front-line workers during the pandemic.
Yesterday, Canada’s CBC news outlet reported on how Canadian truckers who are hauling cargo to and from the United States view the differences between the two neighboring countries right now.
They’re travelling down there. They don’t wear masks,” said Leanne Steeves, a long-haul truck driver from Barrie, Ont., referring to the attitude of many Americans to the pandemic.
“It’s like they don’t care. Life is normal. Nothing’s changed for them.”
On Tuesday, CBC News confirmed the Canada-U.S. border closure for non-essential travel will be extended for another 30 days into late August. The agreement, which has to be reviewed each month, was set to expire on July 21. The decision comes as novel coronavirus cases and hospitalizations spike in several large U. S. states with little sign of a coordinated response from President Donald Trump’s administration.
By contrast, Canada has largely succeeded in limiting the spread of the virus in the last several weeks, with daily case counts, hospitalizations and deaths mostly on the decline. That’s why Steeves would like the federal government to take it even further and keep the border closed until the new year.
She and her husband Gerald, cross the border transporting goods to California every week. She said that from what she’s been seeing south of the border, proper pandemic measures are not being taken and she worries about what could happen to Canada if Americans were allowed to visit.
‘I’m praying they don’t open the borders’
“It’s scary,” she said.
“I’m praying they don’t open the borders. That would just make everything up here that much worse … They need to protect our country.”
And she’s not alone in her fears.
Jeff Henderson, a long haul truck driver from Shannonville, Ont., recently posted a video on social media describing his own experiences in the United States. The video has been viewed by thousands of people on Facebook. We’ve posted his video at the bottom of this article.
He spoke about seeing people turned away at an urgent care centre in Texas because they couldn’t afford a COVID-19 test. And he echoed what Steeves said about how many people aren’t wearing masks or physical distancing.
“Nobody cares, and it’s dangerous — very dangerous,” he said.
“If Canada opens those borders … You’re going to see a spike like you’ve never seen before.”
In the last few months, Henderson has travelled to New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, and most recently in late June, Texas, a state that’s experiencing a huge spike in COVID-19 cases.
Henderson turning down jobs to the U.S.
“I just couldn’t believe, everyone’s standing outside. Everyone is congregating like nothing is happening.”
He’d also like to see the border closed until the new year.
Steeves said that despite her own safety concerns, she and her husband have to keep working.
“We have a truck payment. We own our own truck. We have bills, you know, and this is our living. So we really can’t stop it,” she said.
“People still need stuff. The freight still has to move. You know, you still need the groceries, still need the toilet paper.”
But Henderson said he won’t be taking any more jobs to the U.S. until things get better, and he knows that means his income will suffer.
“It’s going to take a hit but I’m not going to put myself in that position again,” he said.
“I can’t. It’s too stressful.”
To read CBC’s full article click here.
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