Mail and delivery services: What’s being done to protect against coronavirus?

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Most mail and delivery services are continuing to operate amid the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, though some deliveries may take longer than normal.

U.S. Postal Service letter carriers continue to deliver mail door-to-door across the region Tuesday, while services like Amazon work in overdrive, with a spike in orders leading to some delivery delays.

An Amazon statement says that the company has “a unique role getting customers the critical items they need and this is especially vital for the elderly, people with underlying health issues, and those sick or quarantined.”

The statement says Amazon has consulted with medical experts and health authorities and taken actions over the past few weeks.

“It’s supposed to pick up dramatically because people are going to rely on us, because they don’t want to go out to stores,” says Gary Adams, who makes deliveries for an Amazon contractor. He says new policies are in place, with drivers regularly sanitizing surfaces in their vehicles and some colleagues wearing masks and gloves.

FedEx says it is also sanitizing equipment as it, and UPS, continue to make deliveries as local regulations allow.

A Postal Service statement says there are not currently any operations impacts as a result of the pandemic, and it is reviewing contingency plans in case they are needed. It’s also sharing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with employees.

The CDC says there is likely a very low risk of coronavirus spreading on packages and products shipped over several days because of the poor survivability of the virus on surfaces.

Still, postal clerk Lisa Bradford says she’s concerned about exposure from customers.

“I am very worried, to the point that I worry about coming to work. I’m scared,” Bradford says. “I’m scared to come to work.”

She says she and her colleagues at their branch are wearing gloves and masks to reduce exposure.

“They’re just trying to make sure that they still serve the community and the public and do their jobs,” says Daleo Freeman, President of the American Postal Workers Union Cleveland Local 72.

The union represents 1,400 area postal clerks, truck drivers and maintenance workers. Freeman says the union has been in constant contact with local management to ensure there are enough cleaning supplies at branches, and the union is also pushing for more paid sick leave for workers who may have been exposed.

“They’re working diligently and hard, but they do have lives and families, too,” Freeman says. “So please be cautious of what you’re doing. And, if you’re sick, please stay home.”

Several postal service letter carriers that deliver mail say they have not received guidance about precautions to take, or changes as a result of the virus. The local president of the National Association of Letter Carriers did not yet respond to a message seeking comment.

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