by Erin Freeman
Amidst an expanding list of closures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, one service that hasn’t been canceled is mail delivery. The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is continuing mail and delivery services despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s pretty much business as usual for us. We’re not stopping any kind of mail delivery,” said USPS spokesperson Ernie Swanson. “We certainly realize the importance of using the mail to receive medications, to get checks and pay bills. We’re doing all we can to keep the mail moving on a regular schedule.”
The USPS released a statement regarding its response to coronavirus on March 17, explaining that the company is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation, following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health recommendations.
“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,” read the statement, citing the CDC. “Currently, there is no evidence to support the transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods.”
Swanson emphasizes the low risk of COVID-19 spreading through mailed products or packages, but says the USPS is sharing sanitation guidance with employees and encouraging them to take extra precautions if desired.
“If an employee wants to wear gloves when they’re handling mail, we have them available, but the CDC has said they don’t believe that there’s any contamination risk from the mail,” explained Swanson. “Our customers and employees shouldn’t be worried about being exposed to the virus through it.”
During a widespread health concern, like COVID-19, which relies on social distancing to stop the spread of illness, the USPS says they are an essential service to the public, providing people with the opportunity to stay home as much as possible.
“We realize how important delivery services are for people, and I suppose that during this current crisis it is something even more important,” said Swanson. We want people to be able to count on us, so we’re doing all we can to keep up our pace.”
The USPS Lynnwood location has yet to feel a notable decrease in business as an effect of the pandemic.
“Business has been pretty steady. People are still coming to our post office to mail parcels and buy stamps,” explained Swanson. “It might be a little less than it used to be, but there hasn’t been any significant difference.”
USPS has experienced minor operational effects as a result of COVID-19. The company will continue a temporary postponement of Priority Mail Express International, in effect since February destined for China and Hong Kong because of airline cancellations and restrictions. Swanson additionally adds that if Lynnwood residents order packages from overseas, or are mailing internationally, they could potentially experience a delay depending on the location.
To stay up to date with postal facility service disruptions, visit https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/ for USPS service alerts.