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Truck drivers struggle to get food, cleaning supplies during coronavirus pandemic

They are on the road for more than half of the day doing a job that is completely essential right now.

ATLANTA —

They drive long hours to deliver supplies for us, but truck drivers say they are struggling to find places to eat and grab some cleaning supplies for themselves. 

11Alive’s Christie Diez spoke with a few of the most essential workers right now.

One driver told Diez that his bed is located in the back of the truck. 

“It’s not pretty. There’s my bed,” Steph Tatum said.

Do you want to talk about someone with a desperate need for toilet paper? Then, talk to a trucker. 

“Over there in the corner with the orange thing that’s my porta-potty,” he described. “We are oversized. We can’t always park where there’s a bathroom.” 

Tatum drives heavy haul. He’s the oversized load that needs several lanes to get by. He said one of the biggest frustrations is trying to find food since so many restaurants have been forced to close during the pandemic. 

“You can only eat so many Subway sandwiches in one week,” Tatum said as he chuckled. 

Denita Beasley also agreed that truckers are experiencing many struggles right now. 

“There are not many places that we can park 63-foot vehicle,” Beasley said as she was on a route from Pennsylvania to Georgia. “We’ve been nonstop all week.” 

She mostly hauls pharmaceuticals and produce. Beasley said she has definitely picked up some extra shifts as the demand has increased lately. 

“I’ve seen an increase in trucks on the highway. I’ve talked to people, they’ve come out of “retirement“ to help out,” she said. 

In March, the president waived the hourly restriction for truck drivers. Allowing for longer routes and quicker transport of emergency goods.

Barabra Floyd, a local truck driver, said she is making a lot of deliveries to Publix right now. 

“We work 14 hour days sometimes,” Floyd said. “I feel like I finally have a job that has meaning because I am needed now.” 

Even though they’re the ones hauling the products -- empty shelves are affecting them, too. All three said they keep supplies with them. And sold out items are like rubbing alcohol on an affected wound. 

However, they plan to keep trucking, because they know what will happen if they stop. 

“Understand that when we stop rolling, everything stops. Your gas, your food, your clothing ... everything,” she said.

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information.

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