Manitoba truckers push back against COVID-19 criticism

Truckers are coming under increased criticism due to the coronavirus, says the MTA. Pixabay
Three of the six positive cases of COVID-19 in Manitoba since Friday have come from the trucking industry, raising concerns about that sector’s ability to stay safe from the novel coronavirus.
The head of the Manitoba Trucking Association (MTA), however, says given truckers’ travel-filled schedules, it’s inevitable that some cases will pop up.
Terry Shaw told 680 CJOB that he’s seeing continued discrimination against truckers, who he said are being blamed for bringing the virus into the province — to the point of being told truckers have been kicked out of some businesses — and he thinks it’s unacceptable.

“I don’t condone, but I understand those concerns early on when COVID was a little less understood,” said Shaw.

“Everybody has dealt with this for, well, long enough. They understand the protocols are in place.

“The overarching protocols for (truckers) are no different than from anyone else — wash your hands, social distance, physical distance… stay home if you’re sick.”

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Shaw said the industry is doing everything it can to minimize the risk, and that truckers have played a crucial role in helping the province keep its number of COVID-19 cases relatively low.

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“The reason our numbers are so low in Manitoba is because Manitobans were able to stay at home comfortably and safely,” he said.
“They were able to do that because of Manitoba truck drivers — understand that and appreciate that.”
These recent cases come amid Manitoba relaxing more of its COVID-19 restrictions as Phase 3 began on the weekend.
On Monday, Manitoba Health Minister Cameron Friesen said further loosening of rules is ongoing, including allowing limited indoor visits at personal care homes starting Tuesday.
“We’re taking this step because the evidence supports it,” he said.
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“But by the same token, our decision to curtail those visits in the future will be based on evidence.
“If we see that the numbers are rising, we may curtail those right across the province or we could take a more localized approach — a site-by-site approach — if we see something negative happening.”
The province saw no new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, but health officials are encouraging Manitobans to remain vigilant.
“COVID-19 is not going away anytime soon,” cautioned the province’s chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin.
“We will continue to see new cases as we restore services and reduce travel restrictions. We must remain diligent with social distancing and hand hygiene.”
Click to play video: 'Trucker troubles amid COVID-19' Trucker troubles amid COVID-19
Trucker troubles amid COVID-19 – Mar 27, 2020
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