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03-26-2020 - COVID-19:  Information subject to change quickly

MABA and MGEA Company Leaders:

Please find below updated information on federal activities related to our industry and implications of COVID-19.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

Today, FMCSA released a second FAQ document to provide guidance on it emergency declaration that provides hours-of-service relief to truck drivers assisting the pandemic.  Both FAQ documents are attached and pasted below.  The emergency declaration that kicked off everything is attached.

Pasted below and italicized, you’ll find the types of “essential” items for the COVID-19 relief effort that are eligible for the hours-of-service relief.  The “essential” items that apply to the food and agricultural sectors are highlighted.

There is a positive development in the new FAQ document.  It states that wood pulp, feed and fertilizer are eligible for hours-of-service relief under the emergency declaration because they are precursor to items that are “essential” for the emergency relief effort.

The previous FAQ document listed livestock as eligible for hours-of-service relief because livestock are an immediate precursor to “essential” items for the COVID-19 relief effort.  It now seems that FMCSA is dropping the “immediate” precursor requirement and allowing more precursors. 

If you are unsure if your products are eligible to be considered a precursor to essential items for the COVID-19 relief effort, I recommend reaching out to FMCSA for their review.

Part 2: 03/25/2020

Note:  This guidance document does not have the force and effect of law and is not meant to bind the public in any way.  This guidance is intended only to provide clarity regarding existing requirements under the law.


Is wood pulp covered under the expanded emergency declaration?

Wood pulp is covered if it is being used as a precursor to one of the essential items listed in the exemption as follows: (1) medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19; (2) 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 or (3) food, paper products and other groceries for emergency restocking of distribution centers or stores;


Are the raw materials used to manufacture bleach, disinfectants, hand sanitizers and similar items covered under the expanded emergency declaration?

Yes, these items and their precursors are covered as “supplies necessary for community safety, sanitation and community prevention of. . .COVID 19.”


Does the Declaration cover packaging for food -- for example, produce containers?

Yes, packaging is covered as a precursor necessary to the production and transportation of products covered under the emergency exemption.


Are feed and fertilizer covered under the emergency declaration?

Yes, both are covered as precursors to essential items.


Is pet food covered under the emergency declaration?

No, pet food is not covered.


The emergency declaration states that after completed work under the declaration and returning to normal operations, a commercial vehicle driver must take 10 hours off.  What if there is nowhere at the location for the driver to park?

The driver may proceed to the nearest reasonable, safe location to obtain the required 10 hours of rest.


Is the time spent driving to pick up a truck regulated as on duty time?

No.  Time spent travelling to work in a personal vehicle does not meet the definition of on duty time in 49 CFR 395.2.

Last updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Guidance document can be found HERE.

Concerns or Questions

​​​​​​​Please notify the MABA/MGEA office immediately if you are experiencing slow downs or interruptions to the flow of goods and services.  We are working diligently with our counterparts to ensure that the supply chain remains active.  

Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have information to share, have questions or need assistance.  Our office is currently operating remotely so please utilize email as much as possible to contact us.


Krista Lee Evans
PO Box 7325
Helena, MT  59604

406-439-2215 (Krista cell)
Corporate Sustaining Members
PO Box 7325 Helena, MT 59604  |  Phone: 406-227-3523  |  Fax: 406-227-3745