(WFFF) — A new mandate for truck drivers will go into effect on January 15 at the Canadian border. Drivers coming from Canada who cannot show proof of vaccination will be turned away and North Country leaders worry it will cause a lot of disruptions to the already impacted supply chain.
Nearly every good consumed in the U.S is put on a truck at some point, but now, the trucking industry is worried that with the mandate, many drivers won’t be able to fulfill their duties.
“We’re concerned. Unfortunately, we’ve seen across the industry there’s a significant number of truckers that have opted to not be vaccinated,” said Kendra Hems, President of the Trucking Association of New York. Hems says a nationwide survey finds that about half of U.S drivers are vaccinated.
The mandate comes at a time where the nation is already short about 80,000 drivers, and Hems says she is pushing for elimination of the policy, or even a delay to give drivers more time.
“Many drivers are still saying no. I think many of these drivers may just choose to look for other jobs in the industry rather than get the vaccine.”
North Country leaders are on high alert about possible shortages.
“We’re expecting some real delivery and disruptions,” said Garry Douglas, President of the North Country Chamber of Commerce. “People would be surprised how much of what they buy and need on a day-to-day basis is sourced out of Montreal, particularly the port of Montreal, because that’s our big city & there’s free trade at the border.”
Heating fuel, gasoline, building supplies, including 100 percent of cement and asphalt could all be at risk. Douglas believes the mandate is political as truck drivers work in isolated environments with little risk of spreading the virus.
‘We’ve had more than a year and a half of experience to show this is not a problem. Given what truck drivers do and the very little interaction they have.”
Douglas says the U.S will be enacting the same measure but not until January 22.