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NATSO, a trade group representing the nation’s truckstops and travel plazas, is encouraging rest areas nationwide to adopt a policy requiring customers to wear face coverings or masks, the association said recently. 

The group argues that differing state and local requirements on the issue create confusion and that a mask policy among truckstops and travel plazas will help protect the health and safety of employees and customers during the Covid-19 pandemic. They say a mandatory mask policy will prevent truck drivers from navigating differing policy requirements as they cross state and local boundaries.

“In many parts of the country, we are seeing growth in the number of cases, so we expect that more states, cities, and counties will mandate masks,” NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings said in a statement announcing the initiative. “While we understand that there is disagreement about whether to mask, we are urging members to follow the advice of medical experts, including the CDC. We have a patriotic duty to guard the health of our employees and customers and believe this is an easy way to get the U.S. economy moving during this unprecedented global pandemic.” 

NATSO has enlisted the help of the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in its efforts to encourage mask wearing at truckstops and rest areas nationwide.

“It’s time once again for our industry to lead and show our country how to get the job done. This pandemic is a crisis not of our making, but overcoming it requires each of us doing our individual part,” said ATA President and CEO Chris Spear. “Masking is the simplest and most effective way to defeat this virus, and ATA strongly encourages all fleets to adhere to mask requirements in private truckstops and public rest areas.”

Other industry efforts to fight the pandemic include: 

  • Jacksonville, Fla.-based supply chain services firm Crowley Solutions completed the delivery of 5 million masks to the State of Maryland July 27 to help with the state’s pandemic response. Crowley partnered with Duquette Consulting, Medico Engineering, SPS LLLP; and BAM International to ensure safe delivery of the products from approved manufacturers, the company said. “In a market sector with precise delivery and quality control demands, Crowley provided a combined supply chain solution that included fully financed procurement with access to approved product manufacturers. This approach ensured that U.S. FDA-approved products were transported to customers via a fast supply chain, with financial investment required only after the product is fully delivered,” Crowley officials said. To date, Crowley Solutions says it has delivered tens of millions of masks, gloves, meals ready-to-eat (MRE), and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to support military members and government employees, as well as community relief efforts.

  • Indiana-based Circle Logistics has helped Massachusetts-based Sandymount Technologies shift from shipping beer to hand sanitizer during the pandemic. Sandymount—a technology provider for the brewing industry—created a hand sanitizer business called Covid-19 Response LLC to help support health and safety efforts during the pandemic. The company turned to Circle when it was looking for a reliable fulfillment center and specialized expertise to handle regulations related to sensitive shipments of the hand sanitizer, which contains ethanol. Circle Logistics launched a bulk division to ship ethanol nationwide for hand sanitizer production earlier this year and had distributed 1.5 million gallons by the end of June. The business helped Sandymount consolidate shipments to meet increasing demand for its new products. “With Circle’s help, we have been able to reduce costs by 50 percent by consolidating shipments—boosting savings four times over by shifting from expedited shipments to less-than-truckload,” Ronan McGovern, chief executive officer for Sandymount Technologies, said in a statement. “We’ve shipped over 1,000,000 bottles of hand sanitizer in just three months, including 80 pallets per day at the height of the COVID-19 crisis.”

For more coverage of the coronavirus crisis and how it’s affecting the logistics industry, check out our Covid-19 landing page. And click here for our compilation of virus-focused websites and resource pages from around the supply chain sector.

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