While Americans are learning to appreciate health care workers, emergency services and teachers as they deal with the impact of COVID-19, the holiday season has added another group of people whose value has come into the spotlight: the U.S. postal worker.
Many people have decided to stay home for the Christmas holidays, and customers have been spending more and more time with their packages in long lines snaking down the sidewalk outside post offices around the country.
The Columbia Post Office is one of those facilities. And at this time of the year, the impact of the virus hits extra hard.
“Peak season (between Thanksgiving and Christmas) is historically the busiest time for the postal service with mail and packages reaching double the volume of what is mailed, shipped and delivered at other times of the year,” said Susan Wright, USPS spokeswoman from Lexington.
“In 2020, the postal service saw unprecedented volumes beginning in early spring as customers reacted to the global pandemic. Record online retail sales resulted in record package volumes.”
Wright suggested, as Christmas gets closer, that package volumes would continue to rise. She added customers’ comfort with online shopping has increased and record numbers of packages and cards are expected for this season.
And that high volume could be one additional reason why package deliveries may be delayed.
“It is expected that more holiday gifts and greetings will be sent through the mail this year, as families and friends will hold virtual celebrations instead of opening gifts in person,” Wright said. “The Postal Service always encourages customers to send their holiday gifts and cards early. This year is no different.”
Wright said a typical deadline schedule for customers to remember for getting packages and cards delivered before Christmas includes: Dec. 18 – First Class Mail Service, (including greeting cards), Dec. 19 – Priority Mail Service, and Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express Service.
“This has been an extraordinary year of challenges, given the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Wright. “We thank our customers for their continued support, and we are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays.”
By Scott Wilson