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Quebec company offers free room and board for truckers during COVID-19 crisis

Coronavirus: Quebec company offers free room and board to truckers
WATCH: Groupe Robin is offering road-weary truck drivers a little respite during the coronavirus pandemic as the essential-service providers keep supplies moving. Global’s Brayden Jagger Haines reports.

A family-run Quebec company, Groupe Robin, is offering weary truck drivers a little respite as they continue providing their essential service amid the novel coronavirus crisis.

READ MORE: Truckers face major concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic

Truck drivers will permitted to stay free of charge for a thirty-minute period at one of three Holiday Inn and Suites hotel locations in Saint-Hyacinthe, Trois-Rivières and in Vaudreuil-Dorion.

Drivers will have access to a room, to use the shower and bathrooms.

“The prime minister asked to help them so we thought it was easy to say ‘hello we can help you,'” Groupe Robin President Nellie Robin said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Montreal business owners struggle as revenues dry up amid pandemic

Local truckers are applauding the move.

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“Our drivers really appreciate what [Groupe Robin] are doing. They are really stepping up to the plate for all the drivers out there,” LSKL Trucking President Shawn Lemaire said.
‘Drivers are really struggling’: Truckers deal with new challenges posed by COVID-19 crisis
‘Drivers are really struggling’: Truckers deal with new challenges posed by COVID-19 crisis

Keeping vital supply lines running while non-essential businesses have been closed means life on the road has become especially difficult for truck drivers.

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“It is a little tougher these days for the guys to find washrooms and showers and restaurants that are open,” Lemaire said.

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Lemaire says with all the non-essential stores and rest stops closed, simple tasks such as grabbing a bite to eat or going to the washroom have become increasingly difficult and almost impossible in some areas.

READ MORE: Canada, U.S. to temporarily close border to non-essential traffic over coronavirus

“Drivers have good accommodations on the road but there are some necessities like showers and bathrooms that are closing daily out there,” Lemaire said.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: Nearly 1 million Canadians applied for EI last week

Started Thursday, the service is still new — only one driver has taken advantage of the new posh pit stop.

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However, staff say they have seen huge interest in local trucker online forums.

“The reaction is quick. So [many] Facebook likes — over a thousand already,” Vaudrueil-Dorion Holiday Inn General Manager Aude Demegeon said.

This is not the first time the Robin family business has offered lodging in crisis. During the 2019 floods, room and board was made available for volunteers and flood victims.

“The community has done so much for us so we like to give back,” Demegeon said.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.