BILLINGS — As governors nationwide, including in Montana, take steps to protect their states during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, business closures are creating challenges for another group of essential workers - truck drivers - to meet their needs on the road.
"More expectations put on them to get things from one destination to the other, whether it be their freight haulers or fuel haulers. Everybody's job as a truck driver has become extremely important," said Kiersten England of Exit 96 Shine Truck and RV Wash in Missoula.
"I've heard in and around the country about people reaching out to those who are really having an effect on their lives, such as truck drivers. They're up against some really difficult situations," England said. "They're tired and they need to pull over and they can't. They're working longer hours, they do have new... regulations that they have to follow, but they're putting in, you know, 16-hour days."
The England family has created goodie bags with fresh snacks and food certificates.
"It's part of a homeschooling assignment for my girls. I feel that they have realized that in times of need when everybody's feeling sad or anxious or worried that you still can persevere and you still can come out of this knowing that one little (thing) can build someone's hope in someone's world," England said.
"They love the honk signal. It makes a trucker's day," England said.
As of Friday morning (March 27), there are 108 confirmed cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) in Montana.
Here is a list of counties that have reported at least two confirmed cases: Gallatin 39; Yellowstone 20; Missoula 8; Butte-Silver Bow 8; Lewis & Clark 8; Flathead 6; Cascade 6; Madison 2; Broadwater 2; Toole 2.
Officials in Montana are keeping a list of confirmed cases in the Treasure State on an updated map and website - click here to visit the site.
There have now been seven hospitalizations of COVID-19 patients in Montana, according to the state Coronavirus Task Force. The DPHHS public health lab in Helena has completed more than 2,680 tests for COVID-19.
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