A USPS box sits in a warehouse

Neither Snow nor Rain nor Heat nor Gloom of COVID-19

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MASON, Ohio – The United States Postal Service is distributing millions of masks, gloves and cleaning supplies to over 30 thousand locations each day. For the more than 600,000 Americans who work for the United States Postal Service, and for their customers this is comforting news.

In addition, post offices may be as clean as they have ever been.

“They’re doing a lot more cleaning [than before the pandemic],” said Brett Blodgett, a postal worker near Mason.  “They are kind of crazy about cleaning right now, making sure everything gets cleaned.

“There are new things in place now such as social distancing, being six feet apart. We’ve had to put tape in our lobbies to keep customers six feet apart as well,” he said.

Additional measures being taken by the Postal Service include installing signage and floor tape in post office lobbies, along with installing sneeze and cough shields to protect desk workers from exposure to germs. Delivery procedures have been modified so customers will no longer have to sign “mobile delivery devices” for package deliveries.

A USPS mobile delivery device

The CDC has found no evidence the virus can be transmitted through the mail, although they also acknowledge that the virus can live on cardboard, such as package boxes, for up to 24 hours. The amount of time the virus can survive on paper, such as envelopes, is less certain but the estimated range is from a few minutes up to five days depending on the strain of coronavirus.

Blodgett said he still feels safe at work because of the measures being taken by the Postal Service, although he and other postal workers are still working the same schedules they had prior to the outbreak.

The coronavirus has also affected the nature of the items going through the mail.

“With people at home they’re ordering a lot of packages,” Blodgett said. “Because businesses are closed, they stopped sending their mailers because they aren’t [in the office] creating the things they’d normally send in the mail. The result of this has been the amount of mail and letters being way down, but the number of packages is way up.”

Blodgett said he expects the amount of letters will go back up when businesses reopen. And he said it would be good for the post office if the number of packages remains the same.