‘We’re all kind of rolling with the punches at this point’
Currently, there are around 900 Islanders who are considered rotational workers — including truckers. For them, special guidelines and testing routines are expected to be followed.
‘Unprecedented times for everybody’
Recently, P.E.I.’s Chief Public Heath office put out a reminder of those rules after a rotational worker visited a number of stores before testing positive for COVID-19.
It remains unclear if that rotational worker was a truck driver. But currently, commercial truck drivers who are residents of P.E.I. must be tested three times to be exempt from isolation.
There is, however, an exception for those who are only in the province for a few days.
The rules “come out quickly and they change quite often unfortunately so that’s been a challenge,” said Keith.
For his drivers, Keith said questions about the guidelines have ranged from do they need to self-isolate from their families to can they go to a doctor’s appointment when they’re home.
“With the new rules changes now, its been a little more clear and there’s a little more clarity in what they can and can’t do,” he said.
“I think it’s unprecedented times for everybody so we’re all kind of rolling with the punches at this point.”
‘They should be proud’
According to Keith, some drivers have also taken this as an opportunity to increase their workload since the options to socialize during their days off are limited.
“A lot of cases our drivers are here and their families are back in their home countries,” he said.
“They have that optimistic viewpoint to say, ‘Well maybe I’ll just keep working and work a little harder make a little extra money.'”
And for others, Keith said he can understand how it might be tough being a rotational worker during a time where travel isn’t recommended.
“We’re telling our drivers that they’re providing an essential service,” he said. “They’re really the heroes of … bringing food products to Islanders and to Atlantic Canadian and Canadians as a whole.”
“They should be proud of what they’re doing.”