When the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced changes to the COVID-19 State of Emergency within less than a month of its expiration, it raised the notion that it would be extended again. Now, we know for sure that it has.
This extension is brought to you by Robin Hutcheson, current Deputy Administrator of the FMCSA, and likely to be the next Administrator.
The extension is essentially the same as when it was last updated in mid-May. It provides hours-of-service hauling exemptions for those hauling the following things in direct relation to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Livestock and livestock feed
- Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis, and treatment of COVID-19
- Vaccines, constituent products, and medical supplies and equipment including ancillary supplies/kits for the administration of vaccines, related to the prevention of COVID-19
- 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
- Food, paper products, and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
- Gasoline, diesel, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF), jet fuel, ethyl alcohol, and heating fuel including propane, natural gas, and heating oil.
Just as we predicted last time we covered this subject, the FMCSA has extended the Declaration another three months to the end of August, unless the situation calls for it to be ended sooner.
With the Declaration being in force for almost twenty-seven months now, give or take a handful of days, it is particularly hard to say that this will be the last time that the Declaration will be extended. For now, speculation revolves primarily on whether or not the State of Emergency will be expanded to involve things indirectly impacted by COVID-19 such as the global supply chain shortages for rubber and aluminum.
We will keep you posted if anything changes. Until the time comes that the pandemic is officially over, we advise you to consider your personal risk and to make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. This may be as complicated as wearing masks and getting vaccinated to simple changes such as additional cardio exercise.
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