Trusted Traveler Program enrollment centers reopened
U.S. Customs & Border Protection has announced plans to reopen its Trusted Traveler Programs enrollment centers, beginning today. The centers had been closed due to concerns regarding the potential spread of COVID-19 since March 19. Details from CBP regarding the reopening may be found here.
Paycheck Protection Program extended through August 8
On July 4, President Trump signed into law an extension of the popular small business loan program. Employers now have until August 8 to apply for the federal loans, which can be forgiven if businesses use at least 60% of the funds to maintain payroll.
Out of the $660 billion that Congress allocated for PPP, roughly $130 billion in funds remain untapped and available for loans. You can find more information on PPP, including how to apply, here.
Trucking exempted from new quarantine restrictions enacted by New York and Connecticut
New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are requiring travelers from states with high rates of COVID-19 to quarantine for 14 days. However, trucking industry workers have been deemed essential by NY and CT and are therefore exempted from the requirement. ATA staff is working to receive clarification from NJ on how its order applies to essential workforce and industry.
Update: As of 6/27, NJ has clarified that critical infrastructure workers — which includes the trucking industry — are exempt from the states quarantine order.
FMCSA extends CDL, CLP and Medical Certificate waiver through September 30
In response COVID-19, FMCSA has issued a waiver from certain regulations applicable to interstate and intrastate commercial driver’s license and commercial learner’s permit holders, which will allow drivers to extend the maximum period of CDL and CLP validity and waives several requirements related to medical certifications.
For CDL/CLP drivers, the waiver will:
- Extend until September 30, 2020, the maximum period of CDL validity for CDLs due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020;
- Extend until September 30, 2020, the maximum period of CLP validity for CLPs that are due for renewal on or after March 1, 2020, without requiring the CLP holders to retake the general and endorsement knowledge tests;
- Waive the requirement that CLP holders wait 14 days to take the CDL skills test;
- Waive the requirement that CDL holders, CLP holders, and non- CDL drivers have a medical examination and certification, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification and any required medical variance that were issued for a period of 90 days or longer and that expired on or after March 1, 2020; and
- Waive the requirement that, in order to maintain the medical certification status of “certified,” CDL or CLP holders provide SDLAs with an original or copy of a subsequently issued medical examiner’s certificate and any required medical variance, provided that they have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
For State Driver Licensing Agencies (SDLAs), FMCSA will also:
- Waive the requirement that SDLAs change the CDL or CLP holder’s medical certification status to “not certified” upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance, provided that the CDL or CLP holders have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020; and
- Waive the requirements that SDLAs initiate a CDL or CLP downgrade upon the expiration of the medical examiner’s certificate or medical variance, provided that the CDL or CLP holders have proof of a valid medical certification or medical variance that expired on or after March 1, 2020.
The waiver is effective July 1, 2020 and expires on September 30, 2020. The full notice can be found here. Carriers should review the waiver to ensure all terms, conditions and restrictions are met.
FMCSA extends and modifies HOS emergency declaration through July 14
FMCSA has modified and extended the duration of the COVID-19 Emergency Declaration until July 14, 2020. The original declaration was set to expire on Sunday, June 14. The announcement can be found here.
Of note, the modified and extended emergency declaration provides regulatory relief only to commercial motor vehicle operations providing direct assistance in support of emergency relief efforts related to COVID-19 and is limited to transportation of:
- Livestock and livestock feed;
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; and
- Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation, and prevention of community transmission of COVID-19 such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants.
FMCSA concluded there is no longer need for emergency relief with respect to the other categories of supplies, equipment and persons covered by the previous May 13 extension and those categories are therefore no longer covered as of June 14 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Congress expands Paycheck Protection Program
Congress has taken action to remove some of the restrictions surrounding the Paycheck Protection Program, which make the program more flexible and enhance its appeal to businesses seeking federal loans. On Wednesday, the Senate passed the PPP Flexibility Act, and the House passed it last week by a vote of 417-1. These tallies show the high level of bipartisan support behind improving PPP in both chambers.
A short summary of changes:
- The legislation extends the duration of PPP loans to 24 weeks from eight weeks
- Extends the deadline to rehire workers to Dec. 31 to qualify for loan forgiveness. However, the forgivable amount must be determined without regard to a reduction in the number of employees if the recipient is (1) unable to rehire former employees and is unable to hire similarly qualified employees, or (2) unable to return to the same level of business activity due to compliance with federal requirements or guidance related to COVID-19.
- The bill reduces the level of Paycheck Protection Program funds that must be used for payroll to 60% from 75% for full loan forgiveness.
- Recipients who do not apply for forgiveness shall have 10 months from the program's expiration to begin making payments.
- The bill also eliminates a provision that makes a paycheck protection loan recipient who has such indebtedness forgiven ineligible to defer payroll tax payments.
- The minimum maturity of the payback will now be five years instead of two.
The legislation now heads to President Trump's desk. If signed into law, the program may see an increased level of applications. As of this week, roughly $510 billion of the $660 billion authorized by Congress has been lent, and nearly 4.5 million loans have been issued.
For more info on PPP, including how to apply, visit our page here.
U.S. Northern and Southern borders to remain partially closed -- but still OPEN to truck traffic
The Department of Homeland Security has extended its decision to partially closed to "non-essential" travel, which initially took effect on 3/21/20 and is now effective through 6/22/20. However, freight and truck traffic continues to be deemed essential. All trucks and all loads are permitted to continue to cross borders.
In its declaration, CBP enumerates examples of essential travel, which include but are not limited to:
- U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents returning to the United States;
- Individuals traveling for medical purposes (e.g., to receive medical treatment in the United States);
- Individuals traveling to attend educational institutions;
- Individuals traveling to work in the United States (e.g., individuals working in the farming or agriculture industry who must travel between the United States and Canada in furtherance of such work);
- Individuals traveling for emergency response and public health purposes (e.g., government officials or emergency responders entering the United States to support Federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial government efforts to respond to COVID-19 or other emergencies);
- Individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade (e.g., truck drivers supporting the movement of cargo between the United States and Canada);
- Individuals engaged in official government travel or diplomatic travel;
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces, and the spouses and children of members of the U.S.Armed Forces, returning to the United States; and
- Individuals engaged in military-related travel or operations.
For more information and other COVID-related federal declarations:
#ThankATrucker photo contest winners announced
Congrats Robert Lee Johnson, Jr. and George Maltby, our May 13 winners of the #ThankATrucker: Providing for the Frontline photo contest! Each will receive a $25 gift card to expense meals while on the road.
Learn more about the campaign and enter your chance to win here.
FMCSA extends Emergency Declaration until June 14
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced today that the agency's COVID-19 Emergency Declaration has been extended until June 14. The original declaration was set to expire on this Friday.
The announcement can be found here. All of the requirements and applicability outlined in the original and expanded declaration remain in effect, and have not changed.
DOL recaps COVID sick and family leave law
In a recent blog post — Are You Eligible for COVID-19 Paid Leave? — the Department of Labor provides a succinct summary of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act's paid sick and family leave eligibility requirements:
If your company has more than 50 but fewer than 500 employees, an employee may be eligible for:
Paid sick leave up to two weeks or 80 hours at the employee’s regular rate or the minimum wage (whichever is higher),* if one of these scenarios applies:
- They’re under a government quarantine or stay-at-home order.
- They’ve been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine.
- They’re seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19 symptoms.
Paid sick leave up to two weeks or 80 hours at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate or the minimum wage (whichever is higher),* if either scenario applies:
- They’re caring for somebody under quarantine or a stay-at-home order.
- They’re caring for their child whose school, child care provider, or place of care is unavailable due to COVID-19.
Paid family leave up to 10 additional weeks at 2/3 of the employee’s regular rate,* if both criteria apply:
- They’re caring for their child whose school, child care provider, or place of care is unavailable due to COVID-19; and
- They’ve been employed at least 30 calendar days.
*Paid leave is capped at specific maximum amounts per worker.
More detailed information on these provisions can be found in our COVID-19 Update Hub here.
CDC expands COVID-19 guidance for long-haul truckers
The Centers and Disease Control and Prevention issued new recommendations for OTR truck drivers to reduce exposure to the coronavirus while on the road and help slow the spread of COVID-19.
As a long-haul truck driver, you spend many hours alone in the cab of your truck. However, there are times when you will be at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. For long-haul truck drivers, potential sources of exposure include having close contact with truck stop attendants, store workers, dock workers, other truck drivers, or others with COVID-19, and touching your nose, mouth, or eyes after contacting surfaces touched or handled by a person with COVID-19.
The expanded guidance includes distancing, cab cleaning, PPE and hand-hygiene protocols, among other measures. You can find the information on CDC's website here.
The Way Forward
Beyond the staggering human toll, the coronavirus has left a devastating trail of economic destruction in its wake—and its impact continues to spread. Before the pandemic swept the globe, America was sliding into a deepening infrastructure crisis, but COVID-19 has now brought it full bore:
New hand sanitizer refill stations up and running
As reported last week, we at ATA have partnered with Protective Insurance Company to distribute ten 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer at locations along major freight corridors. Drums are now in place at the following locations, where drivers can refill their personal supplies at no cost.
Scale House on I-20E
Travel Centers of America
5101 Quebec St
Commerce City, Colorado
Stoops Freightliner-Quality Trailer
1851 West, Thompson Rd
Iowa 80 Truckstop Fuel Center
390 W Iowa 80 Rd
4518 Webster Street
Sideling Hill Rest Stop
PA Turnpike Milepost 172.4 East & West Bound
Molly Pitcher Rest Area
Exit 8A NJ Turnpike
Loves Travel Center #719
1610 Cotton Gin Road
Flying J #726
I-20, Exit 472
7425 Bonnie View Rd
Many thanks to Protective Insurance Company for supplying the sanitizer, and to ABF Freight for helping haul and distribute the drums.
Nationwide efforts to distribute PPE to frontline truckers continue
FMCSA has procured more than one million protective masks and is now working with industry partners to distribute them to truckers, with drops happening today in Indiana and Georgia.
💪🚛🇺🇸Great work being done to supply our frontline heroes. 1M masks for truckers from @fema @FMCSA now being distributed across the country. TY @POTUS @USDOT @DHSgov & many partners on the ground helping to distro.— American Trucking (@TRUCKINGdotORG) May 1, 2020
Dates and locations available here: https://t.co/RpeJZM12CU https://t.co/u1UidpASqp
A list of distribution locations, dates and time can be found courtesy FMCSA here.
Some 800,000 masks are being distributed across Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Nebraska, New York and Texas. Also, 200,000 masks are being delivered directly to carriers to distribute to drivers. By @eleanorannlamb. @FMCSA #truckers https://t.co/yFzMiRn3dE— Transport Topics (@TransportTopics) April 30, 2020
As reported Tuesday, we at ATA have partnered with Protective Insurance Company and ABF Freight to distribute 550 gallon of hand sanitizer at stops along major freight corridors, where drivers can refill their personal supplies at no cost. Drums are currently in place in Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with the remaining load scheduled for delivery next week.
DOL and Treasury issue COVID-19 relief and guidance for retirement and health insurance plans
First, the Departments of Labor and Treasury have extended certain time frames regarding healthcare coverage, portability and continuation of group health plan coverage under COBRA, and have extended the time for plan participants to make benefit claims or appeals. Read the notice here.
Second, EBSA Disaster Relief Notice 2020-01 extends the time for employers to provide various notices and disclosures as long as good faith efforts are made, including allowing the use of electronic communications where appropriate. The notice also includes compliance assistance guidance on plan loans, participant contributions and loan payments, blackout notices, Form 5500 and Form M-1 filing relief, and other general compliance guidance on ERISA fiduciary responsibilities.
Lastly, DOL also issued a set of FAQs on health and retirement benefit issues to assist employee benefit plan participants and beneficiaries, plan sponsors and employers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
How is the Coronavirus Pandemic Impacting Your Company?
American Trucking Associations is seeking data that captures COVID-19's impact on the trucking industry, including motor carriers, private carriers, suppliers and other allied companies. The insights gained from this survey will support our advocacy efforts as we work with Congress and the Administration to advance policies that benefit trucking.
All responses to this survey will be kept strictly confidential and will only be reported in aggregate form. Due to the sensitivity of this research, under NO circumstances will we release any of your personal or organizational information.
FMCSA distributing one million protective masks to commercial truck drivers
Working with states, industry stakeholders and motor carriers, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is distributing one million protective masks to truckers across the country. Distribution locations can be found on FMCSA's website here, with planned dates and times to be added as they're established.
Hand sanitizer refill stations now in place in IN, OH, PA & NJ
ATA is partnering with Protective Insurance Company to distribute ten 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer, produced by Hotel Tango Distillery, to various locations along major freight corridors. Drivers will be able to use these drums, at no charge, to refill their personal supply bottles. The drums are now being hauled by ATA’s Share the Road and Workforce Heroes tractor-trailers and are now in place at the following locations, with more to follow this week:
CDC expands list of potential COVID-19 symptoms
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has expanded its list of possible symptoms associated with exposure to coronavirus. From cdc.gov:
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness.
These symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus:
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Repeated shaking with chills
- Muscle pain
- Sore throat
- New loss of taste or smell
New tranche of funding for Paycheck Protection Program on its way
The latest round of COVID-19 relief legislation was signed into law today, which contains $310 billion in new funding for the Paycheck Protection Program. The federal small-business lending program first went into effect in April as part of Congress’ “Phase Three” relief bill, but quickly exhausted funds due to a high volume of applications.
From Treasury and SBA:
The Small Business Administration will resume accepting PPP loan applications on Monday, April 27 at 10:30AM EDT from approved lenders on behalf of any eligible borrower. This will ensure that SBA has properly coded the system to account for changes made by the legislation.
If your fleet has an existing PPP loan application with your lender that’s yet to materialize, or if the program’s funding lapsed before your loan application was processed, we recommend you directly contact your lender now to confirm the status of your application. In light of the supplemental funding from Congress, many banks are now processing existing applications while still anticipating new applications. Regulations prohibit receiving multiple PPP loans.
More about PPP and other financial assistance options for carriers here.
550 gallons of hand sanitizer, 100K face coverings being distributed to drivers and fleets
ATA is partnering with Protective Insurance Company to distribute ten 55-gallon drums of hand sanitizer, produced by Hotel Tango Distillery, to various locations along major freight corridors. Drivers will be able to use these drums, at no charge, to refill their personal supply bottles. The drums are now being hauled by ATA’s Share the Road and Workforce Heroes tractor-trailers, and we’ll be publishing the refill station locations early next week.
ATA has also secured 100,000 face coverings at bulk rate, which are offered at cost via ATA Business Solutions.
ICYMI: Coronavirus can't stop America's truckers
Tucker Carlson paid tribute to America's truckers on his primetime national TV program:
"America has only avoided collapse -- not an exaggeration -- because of one group: millions of truck drivers, who are continuing to keep this economic engine running and its stores full."
ICYMI: Drivers reflect on their White House experience
After last week's event at the White House honoring America's truckers, three Road Team Captains spoke to the media about their experience.
Tina Peterson, FedEx:
Stephen Richardson, Big G Express:
Charlton Paul, UPS:
President Trump: "Thank God for Truckers"
That was the message from the President of the United States, broadcasted globally from the world's biggest stage. Yesterday, ATA joined President Trump on the South Lawn of the White House for an event honoring America's truckers for their heroism, patriotism and service throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
"At a time of widespread shutdowns, truck drivers form the lifeblood of our economy -- and the absolute lifeblood. For days, and sometimes weeks on end, truck drivers leave their homes and deliver supplies that American families need and count on during this national crisis and at all other times. They’re always there. Their routes connect every farm, hospital, manufacturer, business, and community in the country.
"In the war against the virus, American truckers are the foot soldiers who are really carrying us to victory....
"To every trucker listening over the radio or behind the wheel, I know I speak for the 330 million-plus Americans that we say: Thank God for truckers. That’ll be our theme: Thank God for truckers."
- President Trump
Find more photos and videos from the event here.
TSA Exempts Expired TWIC Cards Through July 31
From Transport Topics:
The Transportation Security Administration has granted a temporary exemption for the expiration of Transportation Worker Identification Credentials through July 31 for cards that expired after March 1.
The temporary exemption, announced April 14, is intended to minimize the spread of COVID-19 during the nationwide emergency.
TSA's notice can be found here.
New Blog: 3 Keys for America's Governors in the COVID-19 Fight
Our latest blog post takes a look at the role governors are playing in this national effort and details concrete steps they can take to aid the safe and efficient movement of trucks during this emergency.
Hasty government decisions, however well-intentioned, made without input from our industry can easily be the difference that prevents trucks getting from A to B. Last week, in Utah, Governor Herbert issued an executive order requiring anyone entering the state to stop and fill out an electronic survey documenting their medical history and where they’ve been over the prior two weeks. Receiving a mandatory survey on their cell phone raises a litany of questions and concerns, distracting and delaying truck drivers from getting to their destination. What is the right answer, what is the wrong answer? Is there a legal element, or an enforcement element, to these questions?
Officials from the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration contacted the Governor’s office, and working with our federation partners at the Utah Trucking Association, we reached out to the state’s transportation officials to convey the unintended consequences of this proposal. Shortly thereafter, the Governor resolved the matter by creating a carveout from the order for truckers.
Find the whole post here.
Cross-Border: Truck drivers exempted from British Columbia's border restrictions
The government of British Columbia has declared a state of emergency requiring international travelers reentering B.C. to self-isolate for a period of 14 days. However, truck drivers are exempted by law from this requirement. Workers exempt under Canada's federal Quarantine Act include:
Asymptomatic people in the trade and transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods and people, including:
- Truck drivers
Asymptomatic people who have to cross the border regularly to go to work, including:
- Health care sector
- Critical infrastructure workers