To implement the President’s nationwide emergency declaration, the FMCSA expanded its March 13, 2020 emergency regulatory relief declaration from Parts 390-399 to ensure that commercial motor carriers and drivers directly supporting relief efforts can immediately transport essential supplies, equipment and persons, including food, fuel and medical care. The following relief categories relate to the food sector:

  • Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
  • Immediate precursor raw materials, such as paper, plastic or alcohol, that are required and to be used for the manufacture of these items
  • Fuel

Routine commercial deliveries, including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief would not qualify as “direct assistance” for the emergency relief. Direct assistance terminates when the driver/vehicle is no longer in support of emergency relief. A driver transporting goods in direct assistance of emergency relief may return empty to the motor carrier’s terminal or the driver’s normal work reporting location. The declaration also provides specific instructions for when a driver must be off duty.

Complete list of immediate needs subject to regulatory relief:

  1. Medical supplies and equipment for testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19
  2. Supplies and equipment necessary for community safety, sanitation and prevention of community transmission, such as masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, soap and disinfectants
  3. Food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores
  4. Immediate precursor raw materials – such as paper, plastic or alcohol- that are required or use for the manufacture of (1)-(3)
  5. Fuel
  6. Equipment, supplies and persons necessary to establish and manage temporary housing, quarantine and isolation facilities
  7. Persons designated by Federal, State or local authorities for medical, isolation or quarantine
  8. Persons necessary to provide other medical or emergency services, the supply of which may be affected by the COVID-19 response.