Cleaning supplies are rare commodities these days due to the 2019 Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Most grocery stores are out of tissue paper, sanitizers, disinfecting wipes, and protective wipes. For Americans staying at home, the scarcity can be inconvenient, but soap and water can help them fight off the disease.
Essential workers like truck drivers, however, must continue working without these supplies, which poses a significant health supply. According to trucker rights lawyers, not wearing face masks is also illegal in some states.
Face masks are essential in keeping truck drivers safe from COVID-19 but there are conflicting ideas on mask-wearing. When in doubt, ask your company about their policies and their offered resources. If you are driving trucks, however, familiarize yourself with the different policies.
When Should You Wear a Face Mask?
COVID-19 spreads through person to person contact. If you are near other people, put a distance of at least six feet between you and the other person. There are some situations, however, were practicing social distancing practices is difficult. The Centers for Disease Control recommends wearing a face mask during such situations.
For truck drivers, your risk is low when you’re alone in your truck, but it’s still safer to wear a face mask. Whenever you interact with other people, always wear your mask. This includes going to a gas station, pumping fuel, being at a shipper or receiver, or picking up food.
Specific Rules in Different Places
In some circumstances, the law will require you to wear a face mask. Crossing international borders is one of those times. If you are traveling between the borders of Canada and the United States or between Mexico and the United States, you must wear a face mask while in transit or while crossing the border.
States in regions with high COVID-19 cases require truck drivers to wear face masks all the time. The penalties for not wearing a protective mask range from hefty fines to imprisonment. States with at least one region requiring the use of face masks include Oklahoma, California, North Carolina, Florida, Massachusetts, and Hawaii.
Type of Masks to Wear
You need not always use medical-grade face masks but you still need to protect yourself. The best types of face masks are disposable surgical masks and N95 respirators. These types of face masks are in high demand yet short supply plus they are for medical professionals.
Fortunately, you have other options:
- Bandana. A quick-fix option, you can easily fold and tie a bandana to cover your nose and mouth. It’s not of medical-grade but it can still slow down the transmission of COVID-19.
- DIY face masks. You’ve probably seen plenty of people making their own masks; most of these boasting of unique colors and patterns. The beauty of creating your own mask is that there are plenty of materials you can use. Cotton, for example, is one of the best fabrics to use because of its tight-knit quality, which reduces virus transmission. Squares of fabric will work but you can also use an old t-shirt.
Face mask requirements change rapidly as the pandemic continues in the country. As a truck driver who travels between different locations, it’s best to be safe. Always keep a mask in your vehicle and wear it when you go out.