Apr 21, 2020

Moving Through COVID-19: Some Practical Guidance

carrier advice during covid-19

We’ve officially entered our second month of coping with the daily disruptions caused by the Coronavirus. As our health and industry experts continue to collaborate with government officials and communicate with the general public, we are learning more. But information can change from moment to moment, rendering yesterday’s news no longer relevant.

In an effort to help you sort through some of the clutter, we’ve put together a consolidated list of what we think might have the most relevance for our partners.

Shutdown Exceptions for Carriers

To keep the flow of goods and services running smoothly during this time, there have been reactions and modifications from a number of sources. 

  • State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLA)
    • While BMV branches across the country have been closed, there are provisions in place that allow drivers to obtain or renew commercial licensing credentials. Each state has its own rules. Here is an updated SDLA FAQ.
  • Rest Stops and Drive-Throughs 
    • The American Trucking Associations sent a letter to President Trump on March 17 expressing the necessity of keeping highway and commercial rest stops throughout the country open for truckers to manage fatigue. Chains like Love’s, Pilot/Flying J, and TA/Petro have updated their policies and offerings in response. Many restaurants are only open for drive-through service, many of which cannot accommodate large vehicles. Therefore, franchises have created work arounds (as well as special promotions) for drivers. Here is a list.
  • Loosening of Federal Regulations 
    • The US Department of Transportation suspended some restrictions, including how many hours someone transporting emergency supplies can be on the road. This can put some drivers at risk of exceeding the limits of their safety. It is important, therefore, that each driver be vigilant with themselves and in communication with management regarding their safety. For more information, visit fmcsa.dot.gov.

CARES Act

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into legislation. This financial assistance package will provide measures designed to both stabilize and stimulate the economy. 

Here are some key provisions for Motor Carriers:

  • Paycheck Protection Program
    • For independent contractors and companies with 500 or less employees, this program allows for eight-week loans to be used for cash-flow assistance. The funds can be used for salaries, insurance premiums, rent, utilities, and other debt obligations. For more information, visit sba.gov.
  • Employee Retention Tax Credit
    • The government will provide a refundable 50% tax credit on wages up to $10,000 per employee. For more information, visit irs.gov.
  • Direct Assistant to Individuals and Families
    • Citizens who qualify and make less than $75,000 a year will receive $1,200 for themselves and $500 per dependent child. For more information, visit treasury.gov.

Managing Uncertainty

With every update of measures we can take to flatten the curve comes a slew of speculations and impacts that are largely beyond our control. The truth is, it is too early to know all that should have and can be done—and what the long-term impacts of this crisis will be. In the meantime, there are little things we can do every day to make our lives better.

  • Stay Connected
    • Even as we practice social distancing, we are positioned—now as never before—to reach out to one another, across phone and cable lines, that is. Check in regularly with your team beyond work-related meetings. Have a virtual happy hour at the end of the day to reinforce the social element missing from in-person contact. Here are a few fun things you might not have considered.
  • Focus on What You CAN Control
    • There are things that you can do now while you are waiting that can minimize anxiety and worry. There are adjustments in the choices you make everyday—in your health and relationships—that can make a big difference. Bigger picture, perhaps it’s giving yourself permission to shift priorities or seizing an opportunity to step up like never before and take on different responsibilities. Here is a nice infographic as a reminder of what you can’t and can control.
  • Feel Appreciated
    • If you need a pick-me-up, check out our badge recognizing those on the frontlines and be reminded of just how important our industry is to the world.