LIFE IN THE TIME OF CORONAVIRUS

The Long-Haul Trucker Who Keeps the Goods Moving

A new series about how this pandemic affects our lives, our loved ones, our work, and our way of life

Max Ufberg
GEN
Published in
3 min readMar 23, 2020

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Photo illustration. Image sources: 5m3photos/Getty Images, 4x-image/Getty Images.

Life in the Time of Coronavirus is a new GEN series where we are interviewing people across the country who have had their lives upended or who are experiencing the stress of the unknown.

Ron Bartoli is a 49-year-old long-haul trucker from Laurel Run, Pennsylvania. His industry is one of the few that has thrived thanks to the coronavirus. For truckers like Bartoli, though, all that time on the road, and in public restaurants and rest stops, carries added risk.

II have seen some slight changes. There are less trucks on the road, but again, it’s all slight. I’m not really an economist, but I judge economies based on trucking. If goods are moving, the economy’s good.

I see a little bit of a slowdown due to the virus. I can tell that by just traffic on highways. Actually, believe it or not, I see it in truck stop parking. Parking in general for trucks is open. It’s very difficult to find parking when the economy is booming — there’s normally just not enough truck parking for all the trucks that are out on the road.

For years, I’ve gone to Walmart to buy the large tubs of hand sanitizer. I have been seeing all the shelves are empty, but I’m stocked up. I use a lot more hand sanitizer and try to avoid touching things as much as possible.

There are adjustments that I’ve had to make. One is that restaurants are closing. So it’s a little more difficult for drivers. They do offer to take out, and also, just for me, because of the virus I’m trying to avoid a lot of people. I go in at offbeat times. I try not to go in when there are a lot of travelers — because there are still people out here traveling, there are still people out.

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Max Ufberg
GEN
Writer for

Writer and editor. Previously at Medium, Pacific Standard, Wired