Essential business: Post offices still deliver service amid COVID-19

A United States Postal worker delivers mail on Marshall Street in Milford on Thursday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

DOVER — Post offices might look a little different nowadays as the United States Postal Service is taking the necessary steps to help combat the spread of COVID-19.

The USPS is still delivering mail and packages daily during the pandemic with post offices still open for business. Measures have been implemented at USPS retail facilities and mail processing facilities to ensure appropriate social distancing, including signage, floor tape, and “cough/sneeze” barriers.

While the USPS is taking all these preventative measures in its buildings and with its employees, it is still safe for customers to open their packages at home according to health organizations.

The Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization and the Surgeon General have each indicated there is currently no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.

“The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, traveled, and been exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low,” according to a statement by the WHO.

“In general, because of poor survivability of these coronaviruses on surfaces, there is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures,” the CDC said in a statement. “Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods.”

The USPS distributed masks, gloves and sanitizing products to all employees and to more than 30,000 of its post office and mail processing locations. It has reinforced workplace behaviors to ensure contact among employees and customers is consistent with CDC guidelines.

The USPS also expanded the use of telework for those employees who are able to perform their jobs remotely.

Its strategies to help limit the spread of the virus also extends to mail carriers.

For deliveries requiring a signature, carriers knock on the door instead of touching the bell. Instead of asking for a signature, they ask for a name and then leave the mail in a safe place for retrieval while maintaining proper distance, according to a statement by the USPS.

Customers are asked to not approach a carrier to take a delivery and to allow them to leave the mailbox area before collecting mail or packages.

Any possible disruptions of delivery can be found on the USPS Service Alerts webpage at https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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