The American Bus Association (ABA) – the industry leader advancing North American motorcoach travel and tourism – recently participated in the deliberations made this month before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). A recommendation has been made to prioritize transportation workers, including motorcoach operators, in the second wave following distribution to front-line healthcare workers and long-term care facility employees.
This recommendation, follows the March 28 classification of motorcoach drivers on the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s (CISA) guidance list of critical and essential workers. The motorcoach industry has been on the frontline moving emergency and hospital workers around the United States as they deal with the spikes of COVID-19 in different areas; rescueing citizens in harms' way along the Gulf Coast during hurricane season and in the West with the wildfires; moving the miliary along with their equipment to training and deployment assignments and continually moving those essential workers who have not had the luxury of working from home during the pandemic.
In his letter to the CDC, ABA President & CEO Peter Pantuso wrote:
"The passenger-carrying commercial motor carrier workforce has been on the front lines during the COVID-19 pandemic, moving health care workers, both civilian and military, along with supplies around the country. These essential workers have put their lives at risk, and taken criticism from the communities in which they live and operate, in order to bring much needed help to COVID-19 “hot spots,” and relieve quarantined cruise ship passengers. Further, this industry carried out these duties despite the loss of nearly 90 percent of the passenger-carrying commercial motor carrier industry’s revenue due to COVID-19 shutting down the economy.
"As you well know, the nation is far from recovering from this pandemic and the months ahead may see an unprecedented increase in cases, due to the winter season and rise of infections. Therefore, the passenger-carrying commercial motor carrier industry will remain in high demand to assist with not only moving healthcare personnel and supplies where needed, but also to assist with the vaccine allocation as well. In other words, our professional drivers and support staff will remain essential and highly exposed workers, who merit priority in terms of COVID-19 vaccinations."