CLEVELAND – 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 continued to deliver mail door-to-door across the region Tuesday while services like Amazon worked in overdrive, with a spike in orders leading to some delivery delays.
An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement 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 said 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,” said Gary Adams, who makes deliveries for an Amazon contractor.
He said new policies are in place, with drivers regularly sanitizing surfaces in their vehicles and some colleagues wearing masks and gloves.
FedEx said it is also sanitizing equipment as it and UPS continue to make deliveries as local regulations allow.
A USPS spokesperson said in a statement that the postal service is not currently experiencing operations impacts as a result of the pandemic and 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 statement said.
The CDC said 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 said 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 said. “I’m scared to come to work.”
She said she and her colleagues at their branch on East 55th Street 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,” said 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 said 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 fro workers who may have been exposed.
“They’re working diligently and hard, but they do have lives and families, too,” Freeman said. “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 told FOX 8 News Tuesday that they have not received any guidance about precautions to take or changes as a result of the virus. The local president of the union representing them, the National Association of Letter Carriers, did not yet respond to a message seeking comment.