In a windy truck park by the side of an eerily quiet Interstate 25, drivers hold up masks and gloves given them by loved ones for protection. Others say they don’t need them for a “virus panic” created by the media.

Like nearly all these truckers, Marvin Gakin, 71, is determined to keep working. He hauls beef and pork and recognizes his essential role if Americans are to eat.

“I’ve had pneumonia four times, so it would kill me, and I’m very cautious, but I want to keep doing this job,” said Gakin, of Chamberlain, South Dakota, cleaning his hands and credit card with disinfectant wipes after buying a sandwich.

Keeping rest stops like this one open is essential for truckers, whose biggest challenge these days is finding food and bathrooms as retail businesses shut down, said Sean McNally, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations.