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FMCSA Reinstates Groceries, Paper Products In Latest HOS Waiver

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Emergency restocking of food, paper products and groceries at distribution centers or retail stores once again qualify for the national emergency hours of service (HOS) waiver, according to federal regulators.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) had removed those categories when it modified and extended the waiver in June. However, "because of current conditions" related to COVID-19 relief, the agency decided to place those items back on the list of cargo that qualifies for the exemption, according to the order issued on August 11.

In addition to those products reinstated in the most recent extension, which is valid through September 14, the exemption continues to apply to:

  • Livestock and livestock feed
  • Medical supplies and equipment related to the testing, diagnosis and treatment 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

Other categories of cargo that had been added to an earlier extension of the waiver but were subsequently taken off in June, including raw materials such as paper, plastics, and fuel, remained off the exemption list in the current extension.

As has been the case throughout the emergency waiver since it was initiated in March, direct assistance related to the pandemic does not include routine commercial deliveries, "including mixed loads with a nominal quantity of qualifying emergency relief added to obtain the benefits of this emergency declaration."

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