USPS Coronavirus Updates

USPS is closely monitoring the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation and continues to follow strategies and measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and public health departments.usps corona update

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USPS Hold Mail

Does the Postal Service intend to extend Hold Mail beyond April 30, 2020?

The Postal Service is committed to assisting businesses impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

For business customers, temporary modifications continue to be implemented on how mail is handled that must be returned to the delivery office due to a full box or a business not being open to receive delivery for an extended period. Current postal policy during the pandemic is to return the mail to the delivery office and hold it until April 30, 2020. In order to further accommodate businesses during this challenging time, this deadline is now being extended into a longer hold period through May 30, 2020. In addition, there will be a 15-day grace period following May 30, 2020, before mail items are returned to the sender.

Once the business reopens, delivery should immediately resume unless other arrangements have been made. Business customers may request to have their held mail delivered or they can pick it up at their local Post Office. If a business fails to make alternative delivery arrangements or does not submit a request to hold or forward its mail after May 30 and the 15-day grace period, the process of returning mail to the sender will resume.

Business owners with held mail may be contacted by postal management to discuss alternative options.

Assistance will be extended as necessary to businesses who make contact after May 30, 2020, to ensure the cancellation of Moved Left No Address Orders and to immediately resume delivery.

How long will Caller Service mail be held?

Mail from the delivery route that cannot be delivered due to a business closure is returned to the delivery unit, and under new guidelines it will be held for 30 days. Customers can proactively request a temporary hold for their mail up to 30 days. Caller Box customers should contact their local office to discuss how they will be handling the pickup of this volume. Any high volume customer will be contacted to discuss pickup options as well.

USPS International Shipping under COVID 19

Updated 5/22/2020* – At what point does the Postal Service consider an international shipment “lost”?

The package must have a tracking/event scan to show it was received into our network, but if we don’t have a delivered or return to sender scan the package would be considered lost and eligible for a claim after 30 days.

Updated 5/22/2020 – If an international shipment traveled to the destination market but then went dark on scans and the shipment hasn’t been returned to sender, is it handled differently from a claims perspective than a shipment where the item never left the country and the tracking event went dark?

If the scan events show the package was received in the destination country, but failed delivery the Foreign Post would be liable for the indemnity. We would pay the US customer and assign liability to the Foreign Post.

Updated 5/22/2020 – Will International claims related to damages be honored?

Yes, the customer will need to take the damaged article to their local PO for inspection. The PO will complete a damage report PS Form 2856 to verify damage and forward it to Int’l Claims. Once received along with proof of value the claim will be adjudicated for the cost of the item or insured amount.

Updated 5/22/2020 – If a shipment did not leave the country, and was damaged during the return process, will an international insurance claim be honored?

Yes, if the package was damaged while in our possession it will be honored if insured.

Can the Postal Service ensure both military and non-military voting ballots are delivered from foreign countries? 

The Postal Service is working with the Federal Election Commission, Military Postal administrators, and local election officials to ensure all military and non-military voting ballots are transmitted to the voters overseas and returned back timely to the individual voting jurisdictions. This is a continuous process for the Postal Service to ensure all mailed votes are counted.

Is there a quarantine for international mail coming to the US and if so, how long?

The Postal Service is not embargoing mail coming into the United States. We have been notified by numerous international Posts that they are not allowing mail to enter or exit their countries. We have these alerts posted on our International page of the USPS Service Alerts website at https://about.usps.com/newsroom/service-alerts/international/welcome.htm

USPS Passport

USPS Passports delivery Under COVID 19

Effective 3/20/2020

  • The U.S. Department of State has extremely limited passport services due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Customers who apply should expect significant delays of several months before receiving their U.S. passport. To learn more about extended passport processing times, visit the Department of State’s website

Contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778

Effective 3/25/2020

USPS Delivery schedule affected by COVID 19

How will the extended Priority Mail service commitments due to COVID-19 (per Industry Alert 4/17/20) affect Live Shipments?

The extended Priority Mail service commitments applies to any Live shipments destined to a 2 or 3 day delivery zone. Shippers may want to consider Priority Mail Express service for those delivery areas.

In some parts of the country does the USPS now have an every other day delivery policy?

No, it is still the USPS policy to maintain current delivery schedules nationwide. However, due to COVID-19 and employee availability, there may be temporary delays to some mail delivery.

With it being mid-April, will the USPS look to extend the current 30 day hold mail policy until shelter in place orders expire? Which will be different for every state. How quickly will a business need to re-open after shelter in place orders expire to be able to receive their hold mail?

We have extended the hold mail until April 30. The Postal Service will evaluate plans and processes for returning Hold Mail as Shelter in Place orders expire and will return Hold Mail standards to normal on a case by case basis, once the restrictions are lifted across the country.

Does language exist requiring the prioritization of delivering medical supplies? This would be in line with the announcement yesterday at White House briefing about FEMA Supply Chain Stabilization Task Force. Is this a USPS directive of some kind?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, Public Law 116-136, March 27, 2020, Sec. 6001(c) provided the following language:

  1. PRIORITIZATION OF DELIVERY FOR MEDICAL PURPOSES DURING COVID-19 EMERGENCY—Notwithstanding any other provision of law, during the COVID-19 emergency, the Postal Service—
    • shall prioritize delivery of postal products for medical purposes; and
    • may establish temporary delivery points, in such form and manner as the Postal Service determines necessary, to protect employees of the Postal Service and individuals receiving deliveries from the Postal Service.

The Postal Service is still evaluating the impact of this language. However, we continue to move mail and packages according to the service standards for those products.

How quickly can mail be rerouted if I submit a Change of Address?

Depending on how the Change of Address is filed (via online, dropped in a collection box, or given to a retail associate/carrier), mail can start being forwarded in three to seven days.

If a business has specific instructions on how to deliver mail to a business due to COVID-19 (i.e. having to request access via phone to enter through a now closed gate), will the Postal Service still deliver?

Customers should contact their local Post Office to discuss special delivery instructions.

Due to COVID-19, my facility has taken additional measures to protect the health and welfare of our employees and residents, including requiring individuals entering the facility to comply with screening requests. How is the USPS handling delivery of mail and handling these restrictions?

While we understand customers’ desire to screen individuals entering their facilities, we cannot require our letter carriers to comply with such requests. Our carriers have privacy protections under Federal laws – such as the Privacy Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended) – that may be violated if we require a carrier to be subjected to precautionary screenings by customers.

Although we cannot direct a carrier to submit to precautionary screenings, the Postal Service wants to do its best to ensure our business customers and their residents receive their mail. Please contact your local Post Office to discuss alternative options in lieu of requiring screening. Local management will work with you to ensure that the Postal Service can maintain continuity of delivery operations for your facility.

Please refer to our latest Industry Alert titled COVID-19: Policy for Customers Requiring Visitor Medical Screenings for Letter Carriers that can be found on the USPS Industry Outreach website at the url: https://postalpro.usps.com/industryoutreach/alert_and_notices.

Will the USPS issue a national policy for Schools, colleges, and businesses that will be closed for an extended period of time? If so, how will this be handled?

The Postal Service has agreed to extend its normal 10-day hold to 30 days for closed businesses. Customers have the option to proactively request temporary holds of up to 30 days. Students should contact their college and university to clarify their processes because these schools independently manage their mail operations. Businesses also have the option to use Premium Forwarding Service Commercial™ to forward their mail to an alternate address.

Will the 30-day extension be true for consumer customers as well that are not picking up their mail at this time?

  • The 30-day extension is being afforded to consumer customers also. At the end of the 30-day period, the Postal Service will re-evaluate the situation.

How will the Premium Forward Service be supported by USPS if the end site location is impacted by a closure?

  • Each post office has contingency plans to offload mail to an alternate local to provide continued services to customers.

Will there be any modifications to Certified Mail or mail requiring signature deliveries with customers? If so, how will this be supported?

One significant measure being implemented is a temporary modification to mail handling procedures for mail that requires customer signatures. We recognize the close proximity and additional handling that occurs when employees must ask customers for a signature and government issued identification when required. To reduce health risks, we are temporarily modifying customer signature capture procedures. Effective immediately and until further notice, our employees will follow the temporary process below for signature service items. This process applies to all letter carriers:

  • Avoid ringing the doorbell when possible. Knock on the customer’s door. Avoid areas that may be frequently touched when knocking.
  • While maintaining a safe, appropriate distance, employees will request the customer’s first initial and last name.
  • For increased safety, employees will ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.
  • If there is no response, employees will follow the normal Notice Left process.
  • If there are delivery points on the route where social distancing recommendations are difficult to follow, alternative delivery methods can be explored. (Industry Alert – 3/20/20)

Can businesses provide a temporary alternate delivery address?

Customers may contact their local postmaster or station manager for temporary alternate delivery options. The Postal Service has extended is hold policy to 30 days for closed business.

How is USPS delivering mail under shelter-in-place declarations?

  • The Postal Service is classified as an essential government service operation, which allows us to continue operations.

How are items requiring a signature handled with social distancing regulations in place?

To reduce health risks, we are temporarily modifying customer signature capture procedures.

  • While maintaining a safe, appropriate distance, employees will request the customer’s first initial and last name so that the employee can enter the information on the electronic screen or hard copy items such as return receipts, PS Forms 3811 and 3829.
  • For increased safety, employees will ask the customer to step back a safe distance or close the screen door/door so that they may leave the item in the mail receptacle or appropriate location by the customer door.

 

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