By Megan Wehring
Now considered an essential service, U.S. Postal Service says it is working around the COVID-19 pandemic despite a decline in mail volume.
“We acknowledge that temporary service impacts can occur as we redouble our efforts to conform to the current operating plans, but any such impacts will be monitored and temporary as the root causes of any issues will be addressed as necessary and corrected as appropriate,” Becky Hernandez, strategic communications specialist for U.S. Postal Service, said.
While many have seen a decline in mail, package orders have skyrocketed thus creating a busy schedule for employees.
“Mail volume has drastically declined,” Hernandez said. “But not as significantly as we originally predicted based upon the data we had from the first three weeks of the pandemic, and package volume has been growing exponentially.”
With over 600,000 employees, the Postal Service says it updated workplace policies to follow CDC guidelines. Face coverings, gloves and cleaning products are delivered to more than 30,000 locations daily.
“We have implemented measures at retail facilities and mail processing facilities to ensure appropriate social distancing, including thorough signage, floor tape, and ‘cough/sneeze’ barriers,” Hernandez said. “Employees will politely ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.”
Under the Families First Coronavirus Act, the Postal Service updated leave policies to give employees time to stay home whenever sick with dependent care. Paid leave of 80 hours is also provided to non-career employees for COVID-related issues.
Non-public and public-facing employees are required to wear face coverings, aligning with local and state jurisdictions. Customers are also advised to wear face coverings in retail facilities.
“The Postal Service appreciates its customers and is working hard, as an essential service, to meet their needs,” Hernandez said. “We are vigorously focusing on the efficiency of our operations as a fundamental strategy to enable the provision of high-quality service in a financially sustainable manner.”